Rachel H., Noa L. (Reporting), Translation: Bracha B.A
Northern Checkpoints: It's not healthy to be sick on Saturday.
Tura – Shaked Checkpoint, 06:50 – 07:20
When we arrived the checkpoint was already open and operational, and people and vehicles were moving from one side to the other without delay. We were amazed at the efficiency until one of the people crossing explained to us that that on Saturdays the checkpoint opens at 06:30. On the Saturday two weeks ago the checkpoint still opened at 07:00. We will come earlier next time and check.
One of the people crossing told us he was banned from entering Israel by the Civil Authority. Is this something new? We heard about this at Reihan Checkpoint. We gave him a note with Sylvia's details.
Barta'a – Reihan Checkpoint, 07:30 – 08:30
The upper parking was filled with cars and taxis waiting for passengers. Groups of people were coming up the sleeve from the terminal and it appeared that crossing had begun in earnest. Four windows were open in the terminal and there was a long line in front of them. People were emerging from the terminal in waves with pauses in between. It appeared that a lot of people were being detained inside. Recently we have been unable to time how long it takes individual people to come out, and from talking with people we learned that it took up to 40 minutes to get through.
A man, a woman, and a 12-year-old boy were standing next to the turnstile leading to the West Bank,555 on the West Bank side. The man brought the woman and boy to the checkpoint and a car would take them for treatment at Mukassed Hospital in East Jerusalem. The son has cardiac problems and is receiving routine treatment there. They always go this way through Israel, but usually travel on weekdays. There is usually no problem but today, Saturday, they were not allowed to cross. We telephoned headquarters and after clarifying things we were told they could not cross here, only at Jalameh. The man claimed that he knows they will not be allowed to cross there. He asked to speak to someone at the checkpoint who is in charge and who speaks Arabic. We went to look for someone who could help. No one in the building answered us, and the guards in the booth near the road were rude and did not help us get hold of the person responsible. The man attempted to get help from the head of the Barta'a regional council but without success. After a long time, they returned to the West Bank and to Jerusalem. It was extremely frustrating.
Several other people who were banned from entering Israel asked for help and we gave them details to contact Sylvia's team.