Checkpoint Barta`a: Thousands returned to pass through the checkpoints
7.50 – 5.50
Since the holes in the security fence were closed, people must once again cross through the checkpoints.
Barta’a-Reihan Checkpoint 05:50 – The upper parking lot and the roads leading to it are filled with busses, an increasing number of taxis, and private cars. Thousands of workers are crossing through the checkpoint and walking up the sleeve to their jobs in the seamline zone and throughout Israel. The number of work permits has significantly increased since the holes in the fence were repaired. Some of the workers were sitting under the shed and talking or praying, while others were drinking coffee. We talked with some of them who told us that inside the terminal there were two conveyer belts operating for examining belongings and that they had crossed quickly. Everyone looked pleased that they had jobs and work permits because many others did not have permits. People greeted us with “zabbakh al khair” (Good morning) There were also workers returning home at this hour from their jobs on the night shift in the Shahak Industrial Zone near the settlement of Tal Menashe.
A’anin Agricultural Checkpoint 06:35 - We arrived before the checkpoint was due to open, but people and tractors had already converged on the gate at the center of the locked checkpoint. People who do not work in agriculture are also allowed to cross on the two days that the checkpoint is open. Two soldiers who were stationed next to the checkpoint 24/7 to make sure that holes in the fence would not be reopened continued to guard the soldiers who came to open the checkpoint. They were armed and approached us and asked who we were.
Four military vehicles drove along the security road and passed by the checkpoint.
A police car with two military policemen arrived from Tibeh-Romena Checkpoint at 06:40. They did not hurry despite the fact that they had arrived early and joined the soldiers who were guarding the fence, while the people wishing to cross continued to wait.
The soldiers opened the checkpoint at exactly 07:00 and more than 100 people and two tractors burst into the area of the checkpoint. The soldiers attempted to restore some order and line people up so that they could check everyone’s permits.
A woman and her son left for a visit to Um al Fahem. AS high school biology teacher from A’anin High School had organized an outing for four women, a man, and ten children who were going to the beach in Haifa. The children were happy and pleased to speak with us in English.
A person whom we have known for a long time who had held a permit to cross at Barta’a and Aanin told us that recently he was no longer allowed to cross at Barta’a. He went to the District Coordination and Liaison Office where he was informed that his permit was valid, but for some reason the computer at Barta’a does not permit him to cross. We suggested that he bring a letter from the District Coordination and Liaison Office stating that his permit is valid.
One of the young men had his ID card photographed. This was possibly to clarify something that had appeared on the computer screen while he was being checked.
By 07:30 everyone had crossed and the checkpoint closed.
07:40 – Most of the people had already crossed, and a transport vehicle collected the last of the people who had crossed.