Tura checkpoint: "Breaches in the separation fence serve Israel"
14:40 - Tura-Shaked Checkpoint
Traffic, both pedestrian and by vehicle, in two directions. A resident of Ya’bed, a businessman who sells charcoal in Umm Reihan, waits for someone to bring him money. He told us that for 30 years he sold charcoal on the streets of Haifa; now he sells from Umm Reihan everywhere in Israel. According to him, his charcoal is the best. He buys trees from the area of Tiberias and the Jordan Valley for NIS 1200 a ton; other trees that he imports from Thailand, cost only NIS 800 a ton, but “they don’t ignite at all.” The man explains to us that the breaches in the fence were opened by Israel, so that workers without permits could pass through and there would be no need to insure and/or guarantee them their rights.
One of the soldiers, from the height of the guard tower, asked who I am and added that “my friends transfer drugs at the checkpoint.” It wasn’t clear who this was about or what he meant.
A couple from Umm Reihan crossed by foot to the Seamline Zone and waited for a car with all the purchases they bought for home and for family in Ya’bed. These people feared they would not be allowed to pass through with these items because they did not arrange for it beforehand. In the meantime, they conversed with the charcoal seller. It turns out that his business is on the first floor of their house. A car came and all the purchases passed through. The man said “It‘s a good day.”
15:10 - We passed by Barta’a Checkpoint. In the vehicle parking lot, there were 7 trucks. The large parking lot and two other private parking lots above the highway are filled with cars.
15:20 - The traffic flows in two directions. There are no delays at the Checkpoint.
15:40 - Barta’a-Reihan checkpoint
The parking lot on the Palestinian side is full and the guards block the entrance.
Already there is no parking at the sides of the road because of fines given by the police. We cross to the side of the Seamline Zone of the Checkpoint. Two people were praying in the shed. A group of men, some of them young and others less so, sat beside the sleeve (the long covered and enclosed fence leading to and from the terminal) with all the other people who returned from work in the Seamline Zone and in Israel. Among them were also a few women. When we went up to return to the parking lot, the group of men still sat where they were. It turns out that they are all waiters who work in restaurants in Israel, from nearby Ar’ara, via Kfar Qasim and to Tel Aviv. They work the evening shifts, crossed through the breach in the separation fence to the bottom of the village of Qeiqis, and return the same way at night. They don’t have permits to work in Israel and asked if we could help them receive these permits. We gave them the notes from Sylvia and wished the good luck.
16:15 -We left the Checkpoint on our way home and realized that people today were especially friendly. We don’t know why. Maybe because the holidays are over and with them, the lockdown?