Barta’a and Toura Checkpoints: back to pre-Corona-closure function

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Hannah Heller, Neta Golan (reporting), Translation Tal H.

Re our phone talks with our acquaintance M. about opening the agricultural checkpoint next to his village, Anin, we continued to look into the matter with the DCO and the Center for the Defense of the Individual. On the Jewish holiday eve of Shavuot M. was told by the Center that the checkpoint would be opened on Monday, June 1. I checked with the DCO after the holiday and they too said the checkpoint would be opened on Monday and gave me the exact hours of its opening at Anin (gate 214) and Tayibe-Roumana (gate 154). I called M. and gave him the good news. On Monday at 7:30 a.m. he called and said that he and other farmers came there at 6:30 a.m. but the checkpoint was not opened and everyone was going back to the village. I called the DCO. A woman-soldier told me it was yet unknown when it would be opened. Another said they were waiting for a decision. I updated M. that the matter is still unsettled. He thanked me and wished me a good day. In his stead I would be raging…

Hannah and I decided to be on our shift since the checkpoints were opening after the Corona-virus closureinfo-icon.

15:40 Toura-Shaked Checkpoint

The checkpoint is open and empty. Electricity and pipe works are being conducted on the road leading to it. We try to speak with a soldier at the watchtower. His friend silences him, says they are not allowed to speak with us.

15:50 A woman sits in the shade at the humble prayer site opposite the village of Daher Al Malah. We try to ask her about the goings-on at the checkpoint during the Corona time. Language difficulties do not allow for conversation. A Hebrew-speaking youngster arrives.  He says that until two weeks ago the checkpoint was opened for only a few hours every day and served only the residents of Daher al Malah, Khirbet Radiyah and Umm Al Reiham on their way to the West Bank and back to their villages inside the seam-line zone. Others were forced to cross at the Barta’a checkpoint. Now the checkpoint is back to “normal”.

16:00 Barta’a-Reiham Checkpoint, Palestinian side

The car park is nearly full, Palestinian ushers in place. Cars are also parked in the two car parks up the road. Many return from their workplaces at this time and back to their cars or transports. We met people working in Harish, Pardes Hannah and Hadera. Nearly no one crosses into the seam-line zone.  One of the drivers told us that the checkpoint has only gone back to normal yesterday. That is what we also heard on the radio on Saturday night, that from Sunday on, Palestinians will be back to crossing again as they did before the closure. We bought drinks. Snacks, peanuts and watermelons were also on sale. The children selling coffee were not there.

16:30 We drove home through the Israeli town of Harish being built by Palestinian workers.