Barta'a-Reihan

Observers: 
Leah R., Anna N.S. Translation: Bracha B.A.
Sep-20-2016
|
Morning

06:30 – 07:30 – Tura Shaked Checkpoint

The soldiers are late.  Two cars are waiting inside the checkpoint and one of them turns back and leaves.  On the other side near the village of Tura from what we can see a person is walking back and forth impatiently and two or three cars are waiting. Other cars arrive, but no pedestrians are present.  It is evidently clear to them that the soldiers are always late.  There is a lot of garbage and litter scattered around and no one takes responsibility for cleaning up.   At 06:45 five soldiers walk up from the military position, ignoring Lea's greeting.  

At 06:57 the checkpoint opens – one half hour late.  The computer is not working, but the soldiers admit 11 people through within two minutes to make up for the delay.

07:00 – After the workers have crossed from the West Bank to the seamline zone cars cross in both directions.  At 07:15 school children and kindergartners cross to the school in Tura in the West Bank.

07:35 – 08:30 – Reihan – Barta'a Checkpoint

Several dozen workers are still waiting for their rides in the upper parking lot.  Several women come out of the terminal and wave to us.  Workers continue to arrive at the lower parking lot on the Palestinian side and cross quickly through the checkpoint.  There is no longer a line at this late hour.  Mantzur, the Palestinian traffic director, says that over 200 cars park in the lot each day.

We decided to observe the trucks bringing agricultural produce from the West Bank to East Barta'a.  There are 17 trucks waiting in a double line in the parking area.  The drivers explain that they have been waiting since 03:00 in the morning (the director of the shift denies this!)    Only one truck has a refrigerator for the meat it is transporting.  Palestinian taxis and settlers' cars pass through in separate lanes.   Licenses are checked and the last ones are sent on their way with only a greeting of "Good morning". 

The old disabled man with his cane walks up as he has been doing for years.   He presents his documents and waits for a private car to take him up to the upper parking lot.

The truck inspections begin at 08:00.  Seven trucks drive up for the first document check and then drive up to the checkpoint.   We asked who determines what time the vehicle checks begin.  Why do they begin only at 08:00?   The inspector refuses to answer and does not let us go up to the inspection point. 

08:26 – No small trucks or other vehicles that have come out of the inspection facility yet, and we are told that the inspections could continue as long as an hour and a half.

We drive to the bakery at Um a Reihan to buy pita bread with hyssop baked in stone ovens, but the bakery is closed.   We went to a nearby kiosk to have coffee and talk with the owner, a respectable looking man of about 60.  He tells us about the relations between the residents of Um a Reihan and the residents of the settlement of Reihan.  Relations used to be closer and people would visit each other.  They still do, but there is a suspicious atmosphere among them.  People don't invite each other as they used to do.   He talks about things that occurred in the past at Tura checkpoint such as permits that expire before there a new one is issued, difficulties inviting relatives from the West Bank to family events,  and the degradation he feels when a young soldier tells him when he can go back home or not.  He understands that these young soldiers are following orders, but the question is how they speak to people and explain things.  There are these and many other bitter stories about the difficult reality.