Northern Checkpoint: “Even when things are really bad for us, we’re happy” (Eyad)
6 a.m. Barta’a Checkpoint
This is the most crowded time in the morning: dozens of young men arrive a given moment and hurry towards the turnstiles to enter the terminal and get on their way to a day’s work. Passage is intermittent: when the turnstile is stopped, a long waiting line forms and then dissipates within five minutes.
6:30 Anin Checkpoint 214
Passage is slow, the soldiers inspect the passers far behind the middle gate, apparently giving them a slow, thorough check. Yelling is heard from the waiting line down the checkpoint, hidden from sight.
Those coming out, mostly on their way to harvest olives, arrive one by one. We expected many more, but the checkpoint is open every day at this time, so many have already harvested, apparently.
A young man whose family owns an olive grove near Um Reiham asks out help in obtaining a transit permit for his vehicle to cross the Barta’a Checkpoint. The distance from the lands and the inability to access them with work tools and tractor drive the farmers mad. Their chances are scant.
On the phone we hear from a Palestinian friend about the hardships and harassment they must undergo every single day, in order to hold on to their source of livelihood. He says ironically: Even when things are really bad for us, we’re happy…
A beautiful sunrise lights up the olive treetops near the checkpoint.
7:45 Tayibe-Roumana Checkpoint 154
The same soldiers who opened the ‘Aneen checkpoint arrived here a few minutes before we did, so the pace of passage is similar – slow. About 40 persons got through.