Barta'a checkpoint: now they are reinforcing the fence

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Hannah H. and Rachel W. Marcia L., Translation

14:45 – 16:00

On the highway to the checkpoints, we still see tents that were erected on the security road opposite the fence breaches that were there, but it wasn’t clear if there were still soldiers in these tents. Despite this, we notice that the fence has also deepened, and even in places where there weren’t breaches, the fence was threaded with curled wire or concertinas.

Two groups of waiters arrive from the West Bank to work at weddings in Wadi Ara and are waiting in the upper parking lot of the checkpoint for a ride.  One of the young men from East Barta’a who is returning from Jenin complains that his sister, who has a leg prosthesis (part of which is metal), must take off her prosthesis every time she passes through the checkpoint.

At the checkpoint, we happily meet the seamstresses who are returning to the West Bank from the sewing workshops in Barta’a.  Families with children cross the checkpoint in two directions.  A resident from the Seamline Zone from East Barta’a arrives at the terminal to renew his magnetic card; they  don’t have to go as far as the DCO in Salaam to extend the expiration date of the card.

Around 16:00, the stream of workers returning to the West Bank grows stronger, and in the upper parking lot, the buses, transits, and cars arrive with many workers.  Also, the kiosk business has improved and is open during the afternoon hours. The kiosk (a franchise of Shekem) operator estimates that now about 6,000 workers pass through the checkpoint every day.

Tura Checkpoint
Two men, four women, and a child who live in the Seamline Zone, return from Jenin by foot and by vehicle, from errands and with a lot of purchases. One of them tells us that “it is much cheaper there.”  Many young people leave via the checkpoint from Ya’bed and Tura to work in the Seamline Zone – with olives, as waiters, and more.  Some of them pass through on electric bicycles.  A few Palestinian cars and tractors cross to the West Bank.

We notice that from the north to the village of Daher al Malec, and between them and the settlement of Shaked, there is a new dirt road which already has a checkpoint.   However, it is not clear where the road leads and why it is under military control.  Two young men who crossed the Tura checkpoint tell us that the road is on the land of residents of Ya’bed (a Palestinian town in Area A on the way to Jenin).