Barta`a Checkpoint 06:15 – A very long waiting line of younger and older men, heads hooded, holding a small blue lunch pail. These are the builders of Israeli Hareesh City, that started out as a Hashomer H-Tza’ir kibbutz, then became a haven town for the Karaje clan of Ramla (town inside Israel), and after an attempt to turn it into a haven for needy Haredi (Ultra-orthodox) Jews, it is now finally becoming an open community to all sectors. Its planners are aiming for an eventual population of 100,000 residents on an area of 13,000 dunams. So waiting lines at Barta’a Checkpoint are not expected to dwindle anytime soon.
About a year ago, following riots that broke out every morning when this “terminal” could not contain the pressure, the directors of the checkpoint along with the Barta’a local council came up with the idea of placing Palestinian security guards armed with teargas grenades (which they no longer carry now) and clubs (with they still do) to make sure no more riots break out, and on the other hand – more checking posts would be opened. The quiet is indeed being kept. The parking fees paid by drivers at the car park are shared by the land owners (from Jenin or Ya’abad), the occupiers (checkpoint directors) and the Barta’a local council. Crazy.
We offered two notes with Sylvia’s number to two people whose permits to enter Israel have been canceled. One told us that his brother or cousin is in jail, and consequently all the men of their extended family have been blacklisted en masse.
Toura-Shaked Checkpoint 7:00 – This small checkpoint is replete with various types of occupation, supervision and transit equipment. Both pedestrians and vehicles cross here from the Seamline Zone into the West Bank and back, with stiff permit considerations. A fellow from Toura village arrives in a car, with a small child seated next to him. He complains that the soldier at the checkpoint forced another child off the vehicle (both children are his nephews) and said he would not let him through until his father came to pick him up. The Palestinian was angry. He said the soldier spoke Hebrew to the child who did not understand him. He asked him how old he was, and repeated with his fingers – whether he was three or four? “What does he want, that #$% soldier,” said the uncle. “How should he know Hebrew?” At first his anger was obviously understood. And continued to be. But in between I wondered if the soldier had perhaps turned to the child in a friendly manner and tried to make conversation… Within minutes the father of the detained child arrived, probably displaying his registration in his ID or birth certificate, and they all drove home to Daher Al Malek, the small nearby community.