Ya`abed-Dotan checkpoint: signs frozen in time

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Tami Ritov, photography, Netta Golan, reporting Translation: Naomi Halsted

North, August 11, 2022


14:55 Tura-Shaked checkpoint

The checkpoint is sleepy. One man – with a remarkable haircut – is waiting in the shed. He hands a package to a driver who has arrived and returns to the West Bank. A female soldier comes down from the watchtower, wanders around a bit and goes back up again. There is a traffic light, a barrier arm that goes up and down, an inspection hut and other facilities. A well-equipped checkpoint.


15:20. We pass Barta’a checkpoint. A few people are returning from work at this hour. The parking lots are full to capacity. A number of laden trucks are still waiting to cross by the vehicle checkpoint


15:30 Ya’abed-Dotan checkpoint

Light traffic moving in both directions. A soldier looks down from the watchtower but does not interfere with the traffic. Torn flags fly above signposts frozen in time: Sa-Nur was evacuated back in 2005 with the disengagement and it is no longer possible to get to Afula from here. The status of the settlement of Hermesh is unclear. Time seems to have stood still here.


15:50 Hermesh checkpoint

As usual, the former barrier is wide open. On the way there, an impressive line of cypress trees has been planted at right angles to the road. Maybe the idea is to mark plots with different ownership?


16:15 Barta’a checkpoint – Palestinian side

Many people are returning from work at this hour, but the parking lots are still full. We park on the side of the road marked red and white (parking forbidden), behind Palestinian cars. A colorful fruit stall has been set up beside the transit hut. Inside the hut is a sorry sight – a beggar woman sitting there with a babyinfo-icon. It’s hot. There’s a line of clients waiting at the fast-food truck. I buy a tamarind slushie drink for two shekels. The children selling coffee from thermoses are milling around. The peanut seller isn’t there today. A Hebrew speaker asks for help for his friend. We give him one of Sylvia’s notes and explain how things work with her team this month (Sylvia is on vacation). The Hebrew speaker says that Sylvia deserves a vacation too. She does.


The commotion in the parking lot is greater than usual, a real cacophony of horns and a chaotic muddle of cars. We go to the car with people who are striding to the parking lot up the road. Someone has chosen to rest in the shade of a pipe. Evidently, some kind of development work is going on beside the parking lot.


16:35 We’re on our way home

There are no trucks left at the vehicle checkpoint. In front of us in the Israeli lane (as opposed to the “Palestinian” lane), a Palestinian/Arab citizen of Israel is being checked thoroughly. We’re exempt. It’s embarrassing.