Barta'a-Reihan, Tura-Shaked, Ya'bed-Dotan
5:50 AM Barta’a Reihan Checkpoint, Palestinian side
A huge crowd of people, sitting, kneeling, standing – waiting for their transport to work in the Seamline Zone and inside Israel. The vehicle checking post is open and we cross over to the Palestinian side without inspection. A Palestinian security guard forbids parking on the nearby roadside, and Tami drives all the way to the car park further uphill. Many workers arrive and cross immediately. No waiting line is formed. The car park intended for trucks with wares is full. On a small truck, wares wrapped in nylon are being loaded from a vehicle that is not allowed to cross into the Seamline Zone. An inhabitant of Dan village, a fluent Hebrew speaker, speaks of the “good old days” in the 1980s, when he worked in Haifa and the Galilee. He treats us to coffee and wishes us well in the Jewish holidays. Another asks for our help in taking him off the “blacklist” (of the entry permit lists of the Israeli police and Shabak) and we hand him a note with the relevant Machsomwatch member (Sylvia) for further information.
6:20 AM Ya'bedDotan Checkpoint
En route we see many vehicles parked on both sides of the blocked bridge opposite the village of Zabdah. The gate behind Emricha on the road to Jenin is locked as usual, denying entry to a shortcut to Yaabad.
At the checkpoint, cars cross unimpeded, except for a forced slowing down because the road is narrowed by the checkpoint compound. The deep ditches that angered the Palestinian drivers have been filled out and instead there are broad bumpers. Ragged Israeli flags decorate the site, symbol of Israeli sovereignty on the ground.
Barta’a Reihan Checkpoint, SeamlineZone side
Workers sit at the snack bar of an Israeli settler-colonist from Hermesh, others wait by the counter, having their coffee and pastry. 4-5 windows are active in the terminal, apparently the reason for the absence of waiting lines and quick crossing. On our way back to the car park we see that the snack bar is empty: the workers’ transports did arrive.
7:00 Toura Shaked Checkpoint
The soldiers are already in place, still getting organized, the checkpoint not yet open. People and cars wait on the West Bank side. A young schoolgirl waits at the entrance of the closed pedestrian ‘sleeve gate’.
7:10 A first woman crosses into the Seamline Zone. She opens the gate and the schoolgirl goes through. Only now we realize the gate was not locked. Too bad we didn’t check.
7:20 People and a few cars travel in both directions at a reasonable pace. A donkey and its owner go through in the vehicle lane. For them too the metal electric barrier is raised.