Barta'a-Reihan, Tayba-Rummana, Tura-Shaked
Barta’a Reihan Checkpoint – 06:00
The entrance plaza to the checkpoint on the Paletinian side is rather empty, a rare sight at such an early morning hour. The cab drivers who always know everything said that during the first hour thousands already got through… Our acquaintance Ayed, a contractor who lives in Arake and works in the seam-line zone, says that a week ago he suddenly found himself Shabak-blacklisted. He is not allowed into Israel. Why? What happened? He can only guess that a competitor Palestinian contractor besmirched his name in order to get hold of his “tenders”.
‘Anin agricultural checkpoint – 06:30
The soldiers were a few minutes late and when they opened the gates, the happy permit holders got out at the usual pace, five by five. First pedestrians, finally tractors. A woman resident of ‘Anin who crossed before her husband did stood next to us while waiting for him. Within a minute she told us a very sad tale, proving once again how the checkpoints and the entire permit apparatus inflict so much suffering on the Palestinians, out of sight and away from the cameras. Her 33-year old daughter became engaged to an Israeli Arab a few months ago. Although engagement is a legal act and its annulment resembles divorce, practically she was not yet registered as a wife, neither in her ID nor in her fiance’s. Unfortunately the man passed away a month ago before they managed to get married and was buried in Israel. His fiancée was not allowed entry to partake in his funeral nor to hold condolence visits to his family, which was by now hers as well. Neither her village elder nor the Palestinian DCO do anything to help her. No one can.
We’ll try… An older person crosses without a permit due to his age (56) and proceeds to Mei Ami (inside Israel) where he can make some shekels weeding and clearing gardens.
Toura-Shaked Checkpoint 07:15
The entrance to the checkpoint from the West Bank is crowded, people are expectedly nervous, bickering, for they are still not being let through. Sunday to Wednesday the checkpoint is opened at 6:30 a.m. Thursday to Saturday it opens at 7:00 a.m. The half hour difference is significant. Why? Just so. The Israeli army switches to weekend mode but the local inhabitants continue working as usual on those extra two days. Why are they not considered? The small checkpoint is full to bursting with facilities, concrete slabs, sheds, metal gates, bungalows, stop lights… It contributes absolutely nothing to people’s passage through the checkpoint and only makes the occupation all the uglier in appearance.
Tayibe-Roumana Checkpoint 08:00
The soldiers came early and passage takes about 10 minutes, even before the DCO jeep arrived. Even though by definition this is an agricultural checkpoint, non-farmers cross here too, going about their “fabric of life” business in their unraveled lives, probably in Umm Al Fahm, the big town nearby, inside Israel.