Northern checkpoints, Torre: a constant delay in opening the checkpoint; Children undergo security checks
06:00 – Reihan – Barta’a Checkpoint, Seamline Zone Side
A few people were waiting for rides to work in the parking lot on the seamline zone side and at the junction to the road to Barta’a and Harish. There was a sparse flow of people coming up from the checkpoint to the seamline zone. Those who I managed to ask where they worked said they were working in Harish. The city is growing rapidly and providing a lot of work for our neighbors on the other side of the separation barrier who are building the country.
There were three windows open in the terminal but only two were actually operating. There was no waiting line. It appeared that this was enough for the few people crossing here at this time of day. Many others who live in the area have to cross at Jalameh (Gilboa) or Irtah (Tibeh, Shaar Ephraim) which are crowded and farther away. They are only allowed to return here at Barta’a.
The kiosk on the walk leading up from the terminal belonging to the settler is open, but no one was buying anything.
06:30 – Aanin Checkpoint
The soldiers arrived on time and got ready to open the checkpoint. About 40 people waited in an orderly line between the middle gate and the gate close to us. Their permits were checked and they crossed. Afterwards a tractor and donkey arrived carrying saddle bags for the olives that would be harvested. One person told me that there 210 permits. Perhaps that is the correct number but not everyone has come.
People continued to arrive. The soldiers went to check people at the middle gate. A soldier answered me and told me that the checkpoint was open until 07:30, but he didn’t know what the opening hours were at Tibeh or Romena. They will not be going there. I called the District Coordination and Liaison Office but there was no answer as usual. Another tractor and donkey arrived. We left before the checkpoint closed.
07:10 – Tura – Shaked Checkpoint
A few people were crossing to the seamline zone. One person complained that the checkpoint was not organized, was not opening on time and school children were made to enter the small inspection room. He reported that the checkpoint had opened at 07:00 instead of 06:30. After a few minutes a 14-year-old schoolboy arrived and went into the inspection booth. After that two groups of girls wearing head covering arrived and they also went into the inspection booth. It appears that since the younger children have attended school in Dahar Al Malik, the older children have to undergo checks.
07:30 – While I was still standing next to the gate a person in civilian clothes approached me from inside the checkpoint. He saw my “Machsom Watch” tag and said that we didn’t have a lot of work here but that he now admires us a lot, but when he was a soldier in active duty he hated us. I asked him why the school children had to be checked and he didn’t know. He works at the civil administration in the archeology department. He was waiting for workers from the antiquities authority who work at the dig at Tel Menashe. We had a surrealistic conversation. The man is a settler from Itamar and the workers are Palestinians from the area where he lives. He is proud of the excellent relations and with his friendships with his Palestinian neighbors. He didn’t forget to say “The Land of Israel is for the People of Israel.” And that the Arabs have the best conditions under our government. I didn’t try and change his opinions. There was no point. The workers crossed and got into the two transport vehicles. The man got into his car after wishing me health and long life. Surreal.