Barta'a-Reihan, Tura-Shaked, Ya'bed-Dotan
15:15 Hermesh Checkpoint
What looks from afar like a checkpoint manned by the army turns out soon enough to be a checkpoint in which traffic flows unhampered and the soldiers hanging around in and around it are of the Netzach Yehudah battalion of Kfir Brigade (some of whose soldiers have become notorious lately for having abused Palestinians). Here they were only training and practicing the thrilled and rather jolly evacuation of a yelling “wounded person” – from the top of the nearby watchtower. Their commander, a friendly lieutenant from Kiryat Malachi let us watch. He validated what we had heard in the past two weeks from workers at Barta’a Checkpoint, that at Ya’abad Checkpoint a procedure of “disembarking” has been conducted – namely vehicle inspections – for some hours from the morning on.
15:45 Ya’abad–Dotan Checkpoint
The slalom-like passage among the concrete blocks is free but rather crowded at this time. Netzach Yehuda flags decorate both sides of the checkpoint. On our way back we noticed them on all pillbox posts along the road up to the high hill near Amriha.
16:10 Barta’a-Reihan Checkpoint
Our Machsomwatch colleagues who come here in the morning report the scarcity of Palestinians crossing here lately. There are apparently two reasons for this: 1. A huge increase in the number of annulled permits (our acquaintance from Yamoun village, for instance, has been told by the DCO that there was a computer failure and his permit was returned to him promptly). 2. Workers in Israel-proper are no longer allowed through here in the morning hours. They are directed to checkpoints located more or less on the Green Line (the former border) – Yrtach, Jalame that are sometimes very distant for them, either from home or from their workplace. They are allowed to return to the West Bank through Barta’a Checkpoint and for this reason crowding here in the afternoon has not diminished. We should still find out whether Hareesh construction workers are refused passage here as well.
16:50 Toura-Shaked Checkpoint
Two cars await crossing towards the West Bank. Some pump is active inside the checkpoint compound and perhaps this is the reason for their delay, at least by 15 minutes. At 17:10 we give a ride to a man and a woman residing in Umm Reihan, and leave.