Barta'a (old agricultural gate), Tura-Shaked, Ya'bed-Dotan
Northern Checkpoints: There is something more eternal than the occupation after all.
It was a lovely spring day. Aside from the fact that the calendar noted it as the first day of spring, flocks of painted lady butterflies Vanessa cardi are migrating in massive flocks of millions from Saudi Arabia to southeastern Europe via Israel and Palestine. Whether it’s the Purim holiday or closure, the sky is open and they fly low along the barbed wire fences.
15:15 – Tura – Shaked Checkpoint
The checkpoint was sleepy, but not because of the afternoon hour. A few cars passing through with families and children drove from the seamline zone to the West Bank. One of the cars was driven by a woman wearing a traditional headdress. A soldier from the military police approached us with his weapon cocked and asked who we were. He had not heard of Machsom Watch but wished us a happy Purim. It looked like they were dressed up as castles belonging to kings and princes of the old days. We stopped to see Fatma at the small colorful grocery store on the road in Emricha. Everything is flowering in front of her store. She had planted bulbs of colorful anemones next to the table displaying hot dog sandwiches and they are now in flower. There were red and white awnings next to her house to mark her daughter’s engagement. We sat and had coffee and chocolate with her and thought about how everything could be different.
16:05 – Yaabed Dotan Checkpoint
The checkpoint was not manned. The flags of the Netzach Yehuda battalion were flying in the westerly wind. Here and there a Palestinian car drove through the checkpoint and army jeeps were standing to match the turret of the pillbox above.
16:15 – Reihan – Barta’a Checkpoint, The Parking Lot in Area C
The parking lot was filled with cars, as opposed to the parking lots on the slopes. A car stopped next to us on its way out and people asked what we were doing there on our “Eid” (holiday). They blew us a kiss as well. A young boy was selling coffee from a thermos and we had another cup of coffee. The taxi drivers were calling out their destinations of Jenin or Nablus. One of the workers explained that today on Purim there was a closure and people could only go to the seamline zone. There was no work in the Shahak industrial zone. The checkpoint only opened at 07:00We walked around for a while among the workers. I wondered how they see us: older women who are representatives of the ruling government who identify with them but are unable to do anything significant to make the crossing easier for workers.
One of the security guards stopped us at the crossing to the seamline zone and insisted on talking to us beyond the usual comments.
The upper parking lot was almost empty. Yellow taxis were dropping workers off and then departing.
When we left the butterflies had already gone and no longer decorated the sky. Perhaps they were looking to a place to spend the night before crossing the Mediterranean towards Cyprus and Turkey. At least there is something more lasting than the occupation.