Northern Check points: Where are we?

Rachel Weizman, Hassida Shafran (reporting) Translation: Bracha Ben-Avraham

Our shift takes place at 3 checkpoints in the northern seamline zone: The first is A’anin Agricultural Checkpoint where residents of that palestinian village  cross to their fields that are located on the other side of the separation fence.  The second is a “fabric of life” checkpoint where residents of the nearby village of Tura and other people in the area of Jenin cross to and from areas within the Palestinian Authority to the seamline zone for various purposes.  It is located here mainly to ensure the security of three settlements.   The third is a main checkpoint called Reihan – Barta’a where pedestrians, vehicles, and merchandise cross to and from the seamline zone to the Palestinian Authority.


A’anin Agricultural Checkpoint
This checkpoint enables residents of A’anin who have agricultural permits to cross to their fields on the other side of the separation fence.  The number of people crossing here has decreased because their permits have not been renewed.  Other people who have permits to work in Israel also cross here.  The checkpoint is open twice each week and every day during the olive harvest. 

We arrived when the checkpoint was about to open.  The weather was cold and rainy and about ten people and a tractor loaded with plastic scraps were already waiting to cross.  Until several years ago people were not allowed to bring plastic scraps across this checkpoint, which people sell to a plastic recycling factory.  At first the soldiers wanted everyone to cross one at a time, but eventually everyone crossed together.


Tura – Shaked “Fabric of Life Checkpoint”
This is a small sleepy checkpoint but is filled with modern equipment and facilities for controlling the flow of pedestrians and traffic that are totally incongruous to the small amount of traffic that moves through here.   A small number of workers cross here from the West Bank who work in the industrial zone nearby that belongs to the settlements.  The number of people crossing here is also decreasing like those who have permits to cross at A’anin.  School pupils and teachers also cross here.  Unfortunately one of the features of this checkpoint is the overflowing garbage container that is filled with plastic trays and plastic bags and other garbage from the soldiers’ meals.  The garbage container is never emptied and Litter is scattered along the road throughout the area that no one cleans up – characteristic of the apathy of the occupation.

We drove to the nearby settlements to the  industrial zone, among the other pactories there is a carpet factory that moved here from Caesarea industrial zone , probably to receive a reduction in taxes.  We know B., one of the workers there who has worked in a managerial job for many years.  He informed us that the factory was built on land that belonged to his family.   If the fence were not located there he would be able to walk a short distance from his home to get to work, but because of the fence he has to travel a long way around and pay expensive taxi fare. 

Barta’a – Reihan Checkpoint
We thought the constant rain and cold would mean that fewer workers who work in construction in the city of Harish would be crossing today, but the number of people returning home was no less than usual.  Two weeks ago we spoke with the vice-manager of the checkpoint about people’s request to build an awning at both entrances of the checkpoint to shelter people from the rain.  He promised to take care of it and we hope he will.