Barta'a-Reihan, Tura-Shaked

Leah R., Anna N.S. Translator: Charles K.


Northern checkpoints, Barta’a, Tura:  The Palestinians and the soldiers pollute their surroundings with equal indifference.

06:00  Barta’a checkpoint

The occupation routine: many people come up from the terminal on their way to work, primarily young men aged 30 or more, most of whom were born into the occupation, living it as though it was a law of nature. Their routine has been set, everything works “the way it should.”  Belts are belted, cigarettes lit, the revolving gate creaks, “good mornings” to acquaintances, slaps on the shoulder. Some stop at the buffet run by the settler from Halamish, a servant of two masters:  those from here, and those from over there. Sitting at the table near the buffet with coffee and croissants, buying cigarettes so they don’t run out. The stands in the parking lot have been closed…  Unlike the settler, the foreign conqueror, the Palestinians who own the land are forbidden to earn a living here!

“Everything’s good,” we are told. That’s right – it could be worse. When there’s no work during the Jewish holiday, for example. When a work permit is confiscated because a family member got in trouble. “An enlightened occupation,” we used to say.

One man was napping atop his belongings in a corner of the exit from the terminal. He was gone when we returned.

People ask for Sylvia’s phone number; they need assistance with people blacklisted from entering Israel. We provide the number, hoping it will help.

It’s very crowded at the exit from the terminal to the parking lots on the seam zone side. Taxis and other vehicles. Scattered groups of people sit waiting for the transportation that will take them to build the country.

06:50  Tura checkpoint

The checkpoint is open from 06:30, but only a few cross, slowly. From time to time, a vehicle enters or leaves to pick up people waiting. We meet a relative of the man who carried out the Yabed attack, also a member of the Qabha clan. He says that the crossing permits are slowly being returned to the family members, who were collectively punished. The family connection to the attacker apparently raised suspicions that many of them were involved in forbidden activity. The Qabha clan is one of the largest on the West Bank and its members can be found in many villages, as well as in Israel. What’s their share in terrorism?  It’s as though someone named Cohen in Israel were arrested for terrorism and everyone whose name was Cohen were automatically suspected and punished. The relative said the attack was an accident, not a planned act of terrorism: the driver himself called the ambulance and didn’t pick up the weapons scattered around. We have a different idea.

07:30  The first pupils arrive at the checkpoint and we leave. Garbage everywhere on the roadside. It is perfect example of cooperation between the Palestinians and the soldiers – in polluting the environment!