Settlement Hermesh could be a nice community if it was located in Israel

Observers: 
Tami Rituv (photos) and Neta Golan (Reporting) Translation: Bracha Ben-Avraham
Jan-23-2020
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Afternoon

14:30 – Tura – Shaked Checkpoint

There were no pedestrians.  Two cars crossed from the West Bank to the seamline zone.  An army vehicle left the checkpoint area and to our surprise an officer waved hello to us through the window.  Only the call of the Muezzin broke the quiet, emptiness, and boredom and the litter that covers the checkpoint.  The lovely clouds could be seen through the gate of the checkpoint that is covered with barbed wire.

15:00 – We drove past Barta’a Checkpoint and noticed the large amount of cars and continued on to the settlement of   Hermesh.  The gate on the road leading south was open and the watchtower was not manned.  We entered the settlement out of curiosity.  It looked like a quiet community and it’s a pity that it wasn’t built elsewhere.  We drove north to Yaabed – Dotan Checkpoint which was also unmanned.  The road back to Barta’a Checkpoint was filled with green fields and winter scenery after the rain.

15:30 – Barta’a Reihan Checkpoint, Palestinian Side

We arranged a meeting at Barta’a Checkpoint with M.B., a resident of the nearby village of Zibda who runs a kindergarten in the village together with his wife.    We brought three bags of toys that we received from a woman with special needs who works as an aid in a kindergarten.  She is more attentive to other people’s needs than many people who are better educated than she is. 

The parking lots at the Barta’a Checkpoint were full, and the Palestinian attendants were having difficulty keeping order.  A lot of cars, including ours, were parked on the sides of the road.  Some cars served as booths for selling fruit, cakes, and sweets.   Three small children were running among the cars selling coffee from thermos jugs.  A lot of people were coming back from work, but there was not enough work for the drivers.  One of them complained that since people from the Jenin area who have permits to work in Israel have been allowed to cross here in the morning and not just to return in the afternoon, many come in the morning with their cars and don’t need drivers.  What is good for some people is bad for others.

16:00 As we walked back to our car an Israeli woman, evidently a settler, shouted “Hope you burn in hell!” at us. 

Reihan – Barta’a Checkpoint, Seamline Zone Side

We walked down the sleeveinfo-icon to the entrance to the terminal together with many people returning from work.  Some people stopped to buy freshly baked cakes at the settler’s kiosk. There was practically no one going the other way towards the seamline zone.  The inspection windows in the terminal were not operating.  People coming back from work cross outside the terminal and don’t pass inside.

We walked back to our car against the flow of people descending to the entrance to the terminal.  Many people greeted us in Hebrew and Arabic – a compensation for the cursing settler.