Barta'a-Reihan, Tura-Shaked, Ya'bed-Dotan
Barta'a Reihan Checkpoint, Palestinian Side, Area C
The line was being formed around the new entrance area which was not yet in use, so the parking lot appeared at first to be empty of people. A family with a small child and several women went directly to the turnstile without waiting in line. I was told that it was taking people approximately 40 minutes to cross including the time inside the terminal. At a quarter to six after a few minutes' wait the turnstile on the Palestinian side opened for four workers returning from the night shift. After that about 110 people crossed to the seamline zone. People were received by the coordinator of activities in the [occupied] territories with wishes of "Ramadan Kariim" and "Have fun" - wishes for a happy holiday month to them and their families. There was a two minute break and then another group of people entered.
At 05:50 the turnstile closed when a military jeep drove along the security road westward.
06:15 – Yaabed – Dotan Checkpoint
Cars were crossing without being delayed. The tobacco fields were flowering with pink flowers and the okra flowers were still closed. Rows of sunflowers bordered plots of okra.
06:40 – Tura – Shaked Checkpoint
The inner gates opened as we arrived. Two cars drove towards the West Bank. At 06:45 12 people went into the inspection facility through the turnstile and a soldier went up to the observation point. At 06:44 the gate was raised and the two cars passed through without any more delay. We were told that today the checkpoint opened early and that things were going well because no one was checked in the inspection room. At 06:50 a driver was held up because his papers were checked and something was missing. He left his car at the checkpoint, went back to the nearby village, and came back shortly with the missing papers. Another couple of cars went through and by 07:15 the checkpoint was quiet.
Reihan – Barta'a Checkpoint, Seamline Zone Side 07:30
The popular kiosk with coffee and fragrant cakes was operating even now during Ramadan, and a group of young men were smoking and eating behind a blue plastic barrier. There were two positions operating at the exit going towards the seamline zone. I have not been here in the morning for a long time and noticed cameras positioned above each position for the first time. People explained: "Instead of the biometer palm check, we get photographed." People added that "everything is OK." At 08:15 two light trucks loaded with merchandise and vegetables and two medium-sized trucks left the vehicle inspection facility in a convoy headed for the seamline zone. Five minutes later six vehicles loaded with merchandise drove up to be checked. A private car that entered at 08:21 drove out at 08:25. Meanwhile three more cars arrived. It appears that Reihan-Barta'a Checkpoint is running professionally. If only it were located on a legitimate border point and there were Palestinian clerks on the other side!