05:20 – 06:00 – Barta'a Checkpoint
Many workers are waiting for their rides to work in the upper parking lot. People are sitting on the curb, on rocks, on the roadside and in any free spot, drinking coffee and smoking. The place is desolate and decrepit but we are accustomed to it. Why are there no benches, water coolers, or awnings? Why are the restrooms so run down, with a broken door that does not close? Who is in charge here?
In the lower parking lot, Palestinian ushers are supervising the line in a pleasant, quiet manner. A double line becomes single file at the entrance to the turnstiles. There are currently about 500 people waiting. A guard collects parking fees and issues receipts. All is quiet and orderly as if this is a normal place.
People are coming through the terminal at a reasonable rate. Every few minutes the turnstile opens and a large number of people goes through.
05:50 – About 300 people are waiting. People continue to arrive and join the line. Before 06:00, many more people arrive and again 500 people are waiting. People are arriving in taxis and cars and on foot, after parking on the opposite hill. Some of the drivers are waiting for passengers.
A 45-year-old man complains that he has not been allowed to cross and go to work, despite the fact that he has a permit. At the beginning of the week, he went to the Liaison and Coordination Administration at Salem and lost a day's work waiting there, only to be told that his papers were on their way to him. On Tuesday he went to work as usual with the same papers and again on Wednesday he was not allowed to cross. When I finally managed to talk with the Liaison and Coordination Administration they said he had to come again. There is nothing to be done but go to the Liaison and Coordination Administration again.
06:30 – Tura Checkpoint
The checkpoint is supposed to be open but the soldiers have not yet arrived. Two or three people are waiting and 20 or 30 people are waiting next to the turnstile.
At 06:40 the soldiers slowly stroll up as if they are on a morning walk. They arrive at the checkpoint and ignore the people waiting. The officer claims that the checkpoint opens at 06:45. At 06:50 things are ready and the checkpoint opens at 07:00. Crossing goes without delay. 23 people and five cars crossed from the West Bank to the seamline zone. Many of the workers work in the nearby settlements.
We were told that on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays the checkpoint is open from 07:00 to 10:30 and from 12:30 to 21:00. A man tells us that he has heard that all the area from Dahar al Malakh to eastward will be returned to the West Bank.
We left at 07:20.