Barta'a-Reihan, Tura-Shaked

Leah R. (driving), Hassidah (reporting)

A Ramadan watch, with no unusual occurrences, apart from the irregular hours.

14:00. Barta’a checkpoint.  Because of Ramadan the workday is shorter, and at this hour many workers are already returning home. We went to the terminal, exchanging Ramadan greetings.  As usual, those returning from Israel are not detained for checking, while those who worked in the seamline zone were stopped for a biometric check. It seems that only one machine was in use, but this was sufficient. Coming towards us from the terminal were some older folk who were coming from the West Bank to the seamline zone, and as usual, were busy replacing their belts after the magnometer check.

We drove to the Palestinian side and went up to the bridge to meet with our old acquaintance A., to give him clothes as he had requested. A young man approaches, complaining that in the morning, on the way to work, there is no definite separation of men and women. He wanted women to pass through separately. The argument that there were few women who passed relative to the number of men did not satisfy him. The two turnstiles could turn in opposite directions to enable men and women to enter separately.  The man wanted us to talk to the director of the terminal, who generally refuses to speak to us.

15:00. Tura checkpoint. Very little traffic. A soldier brought a carton of refuse and put it on top of the existing pile.  We asked him who was responsible for emptying the overflowing, bad-smelling container. The soldiers did not know.  The waiting-hut was also dirty, but apparently this did not concern the soldiers.  On the other hand, inside the checkpoint, are employed a father and son, Palestinians, scrubbing up the place as if doing a pre-Passover cleaning.

In the hut we met three small children, about 5-7, who amused themselves with us, photographing with their cell phones. They are experts, more than we are, just like our grandchildren. A soldier brought the children tubs of Milky and bags of chocolate milk. (From what age do children start fasting? Do the soldiers know about Ramadan?).  Apart from them, there was also a man who had given up waiting for transport to Barta’a.  We saw also cars entering the West Bank without being delayed.