Northern Checkpoints, Barta’a: A gate blocking a major road was opened after years.
14:45 – Tura Shaked Checkpoint
The checkpoint was quiet and dirty as usual. Four young people crossed to the seamline zone. One of them walked towards the lone house outside the village of Tura near the settlement of Shaked. Two women arrived and waited under the shelter. One of them was carrying a child. They refused our offer of a ride. Evidently they were waiting for someone to give them a ride.
15:15 – A’anin Checkpoint
We arrived at the checkpoint just before the military police. There was only one tractor driver and his 12-year-old son and eight men waiting to cross. The tractor driver M. whom we know explained that some people who have a crossing permit prefer to cross to the seamline zone as Barta’a Checkpoint rather than here. The first person crossed at 15:25 and the rest of the people and three army vehicles crossed within a few minutes. One vehicle stopped and a woman soldier asked how we were doing and we wished each other a happy new year. The checkpoint closed at 15:35.
15:45 – A surprise on the bridge
We drove past Reihan-Barta’a Checkpoint where many people were already returning home from work. We continued south on road 596 where there was a surprise on the bridge on the road to Zabda. The western side that had been blocked with concrete blocks for years, was open! The concrete blocks had been moved and there was a steel gate in their place that was now open. It was now possible to drive on road 6115 westward to Dahar el Abed and to Kafin. The red sign warning not to enter and that this is Area A that belongs to the Palestinian Authority was partially erased. We asked one of the drivers when the road had been opened but he didn’t know. “It was opened suddenly.” The steel gate blocking the entrance to Zibda was closed. The gate to the shortcut to Yaabed was open but these were false hopes.
16:05 – Yaabed Dotan Checkpoint
The checkpoint was not manned. Traffic was moving between the concrete blocks that forced drivers to go slowly. There was a sign next to the checkpoint with a greeting wishing the residents of Samaria a happy new year as part of the elections for the regional authorities.
16:15 – Barta’a Reihan Checkpoint
There were a lot of cars and people. Crossing to the West Bank took place through the new metal crossing and looked horrible. One of the Palestinian security guards was standing inside holding a club and keeping order. Two men were selling snacks outside the shed and two boys aged about 8 and 10 were selling coffee in little paper cups for a Shekel.
16:30 – On our way to our car one of the people who worked in construction in the city of Harish in Israel told us that when he only had a permit for Barta’a which is in the seamline zone. He was caught and his permit for Barta’a was confiscated. We gave him Sylvia’s phone number in hopes that her team would be able to help him with the bureaucracy in arranging for his permit to be renewed.