Barta'a checkpoint seems like a border crossing, but it is not

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Marina Banai and Ruthi Tuval (Reporting)Translation: Bracha Ben - Avraham

North 01.06.2021 Afternoon




We passed Reihan- Barta’a Checkpoint.  The parking lot on the Palestinian side (area C) was full and many workers were returning from work.


Yaabed-Dotan Checkpoint – Traffic was moving through the checkpoint without delay and soldiers were watching from the pillbox above.   We met our old acquaintance S. the Bedouin, which is how he calls himself.   He drives passengers from Barta’a Checkpoint to Jenin.  S. is the father of 21 children and invited us to visit his home in Emricha.  He lives with his huge family in a complex of crude buildings and inner courtyards that contain all kinds of junk.  He uses the area to raise pigeons, chickens, ducks, and rabbits and sells the chicks.    When we got into the car children and women came up to us asking “Saadna, saadna” (help us, help us).  One of the girls is about to undergo eye surgery in Sheba Hospital.  We gave them contact information for the “Road to Wellness” organizations that arranges travel to hospitals in Israel for Palestinians.   For years S. has only been asking for a television set.


We passed Barta’a-Reihan Checkpoint again where traffic was moving like at a border crossing despite the fact that the legitimate border between Israel and Palestine is many kilometers away.  


Everything is as usual at Tura-Shaked Checkpoint – quiet and dirty.  On our way back we stopped to visit the nice couple from Izbat a-Radiya* who are still waiting for the large battery that is supposed to arrive from Dubai that will operate the solar panels on their roof that was purchased for them.  Meanwhile a small battery operates several smaller panels several hours each day and they still use a generator for electricity.


*Izbat a-Radiya is an “unrecognized settlement” that is not connected to the electric grid, but appears on Google Art.