Barta'a-Reihan, Tura-Shaked, Ya'bed-Dotan
13:50 Ya’abed-Dotan Checkpoint
The checkpoint is manned, and soldiers overlook the checkpoint from the top of a guard-tower. Traffic is lively this time of day; people are returning earlier than usual from work because of the month-long Ramadan holiday. Cars pass through the checkpoint without delay. We are occasionally greeted by passers-by.
14:10 Barta'a Riehan Checkpoint, Palestinian side
The parking lots are full, but the Palestinian guards are maintaining order. We parked and were on our way to pay when the usher directed us to a different, marked parking spot. We paid 5 ILS and received a parking ticket. The atmosphere was calm despite the large numbers of laborers returning from work, the many cars, and the midday heat. The ushers directed people toward transportation in an orderly way, reminiscent of a taxi stand: the first in line departed first and the last in line last.
On our way to the gate we had an emotional meeting with young H, who greeted us with a happy cry and nearly hugged us. He told us about a car accident he’d had, the treatment he received at Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem, and showed us his new car. A few young men joined the conversation, listening in, joking. We left feeling satisfied with the results of the Palestinians’ efforts to maintain order on their side of the checkpoint. In our view, this represents an example of an improvement in quality of life that Palestinians were able to achieve on their own.
14:40 Tura Shaked Checkpoint
A few cars and several people are passing through the checkpoint in both directions. The tarp shading the inspection area is still torn. The garbage can is half full but the surrounding area remains covered in trash.
A tractor stops near us and we are greeted by its driver. We reply with the traditional greeting, “Ramadan Kareem.” It turns out that he’s the head of the Tura council, returning home at the end of a work-day. We asked about the nearby village, Zahar al-Malach and he tells us that a plan to connect the village to the power grid has been drawn up but that the price – 400,000 ILS – is beyond their means. He wondered why not connect this village to Tura, which is already on the power grid? We didn’t have an answer for him. We said goodbye.