The Northern Checkpoints: The Occupation Is Ticking
15:05 – Tura-Shaked Checkpoint
The yawning checkpoint is manned by bored soldiers of the military police who are happy to converse with us today. A 4x4 vehicle waits for a young man who arrives from the West Bank. Above the road to the checkpoint, a young boy and his grandmother walk slowly in 34-degree heat. All along the way that leads to the Barta’a Checkpoint - a cleaning operation: full black garbage bags on the side of the road.
15:30 – Crossing Barta’a Checkpoint. The parking lot on the side of the seam area is full of taxis that bring workers, and from the other side, the Palestinian parking area is totally filled up. We stop at the charming grocery in Umm Rieha. The owner of the grocery, who always sits leisurely behind the counter, asks about Neta, who frequently visits her.
15:55 – Ya’bed-Dotan Checkpoint
Heavy traffic of taxis and different transport vehicles cross without delay. A settler who arrives from Mevo-Dotan stops and asks if everything is O.K. We nod and he travels on.
16:15 – Returning to Barta’a Checkpoint. At the exit, they check our identity cards. We sit in the spacious, tall shed (“the cathedral”) in the northern end (seam area) and look with amazement at all the vehicles unloading many workers, apparently more than their licenses allow. The workers hurry to the sleeve (the enclosed passage to and from the terminal) that has recently been lengthened. They will cross another three turnstiles and a scorching metal labyrinth from the other side of the terminal. From there, they will continue in crowded taxis to the West Bank settlements. At least they finished their daily work.
16:50 – On the road – Workers get off buses from “Nasa Tours”.