Barta'a checkpoint: Private vehicles remain at the checkpoint and drivers pass the checkpoint on foot

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Shuli Bar, telephone update from the West Bank
18/05/2020
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בוקר

Last week a young man from the West bank called and complained that people are not being allowed to cross at Barta’a Checkpoint from the West bank to Barta’a in private vehicles.  Residents of the West bank who work in the seamline zone in places such as Barta’a are forced to leave their cars at the checkpoint and continue to travel to work by taxi. 

I spoke with Ron, one of the managers at the Barta’a Checkpoint to try and understand what this directive was about.  When I remarked that they had found another way to cancel another attempt to make crossing at Barta’a easier, I was answered with amazement.  The regulation was directed at residents of the West Bank who are driving cars that do not belong to them but claim that they own them.  The restriction is due to concern for the health of residents of the West Bank because of the COVID19 virus.  The objective is to not only guard the health of residents, but to eliminate waiting lines at the vehicle checkpoints.  Residents of the West Bank fill their vehicles with passengers who want rides (sometimes for payment) and this causes crowds to accumulate at the vehicle checkpoints, which is against quarantine regulations.  The checkpoint workers prefer that everyone cross the checkpoint on foot and they don’t like it when Palestinians force their arrangement upon them.  I am not sure that private cars will be permitted to cross at the vehicle checkpoint again after the threat of the Corona virus ends.