Very crowded at the Barta`a checkpoint every morning

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Neta Golan, Shuli Bar (report and photos)
תוצאות הבחירות מלוות אותנו בלב כבד

The recent election results follow us, we are heavy-hearted…


6:15 a.m. Barta’a Checkpoint:

Lots of vehicles at the entrance to the upper area of the checkpoint. Most came to pick up Palestinian workers who have come from all over the West Bank to work, mostly inside Israel. According to the crowding here we can evaluate the pace of passing to the terminal from the lower car park, supposedly on the Palestinian side. Today, in view of the chaos we realized there’s a ‘streaming problem’, passage slowed down.

We went down to the lower car park and discovered an over-filled shed pf people. Turnstiles leading to the terminal are unoperated, movement stopped. Only a quarter of an hour later was passage renewed, and only for 2-3 minutes. In the meantime, more and more workers arrive from all directions, more than passed into the terminal. Inside the shed people are crowded and pressed to each other. We have not seen this shameful sight for a long time now. In spite of the crowding, the atmosphere was relatively peaceful, both inside the shed and around it. We estimated that hundreds of people were standing there at the time.

Here and there complaints were heard of people afraid to be late to work, and that this is an impossible situation to be repeated every morning.  Outside the shed stood workers who did not wish to crowd inside, and preferred to wait at the sides until the crowding would dissolve. This happened about half an hour after we arrived.

7:05 a.m. Anin Agricultural Checkpoint

We haven’t yet become accustomed to seeing over one-hundred people crossing this checkpoint to work at the olive harvest and in general. In the not-so-distant past, when the Separation Fence had breaches, a single tractor driver and his son crossed here. All the rest used the breaches. Since these were closed, and since the DCO has provided great numbers of work permits, over a hundred people and more cross here every morning and afternoon. We know many of them, who meet us with obvious delight. Others, mostly young and unknown to us, do not even glance at us. During the present olive harvest month, the checkpoint is opened daily. Later, when this harvest is over things will return to their usual pattern of twice a week, to the dismay of Anin and other villagers.

The breaches are back!

On Monday this week, October 31, 2022 Hannah reported a group of workers detained at the checkpoint in the morning and finally taken away by bus. We met one of these workers, M., who told us that the entire group except for him (most of them not Anin residents) were caught crossing a breach not far from the checkpoint. He crossed the checkpoint unhampered and went to work in his nearby grove: “The army came and shackled me tightly, even though I have a crossing permit and everything is alright”. They were all taken in for questioning at Salem and spent the night there. In the morning they were released. A work day was lost. A night was lost. No one spoke with them at all. M. was traumatized, and asked me for my phone number. For when this will be repeated…


New Directive

Last Wednesday a Palestinian farmer was denied harvesting trees near a new army post.  Since the villagers do not dare violate the directives, they gave in and went home. Today and yesterday this order was already removed, apparently thanks to the intervention of a DCO officer. The next day, the farmer finished harvesting his olives peacefully in that area.

Yesterday, election day, the checkpoint was opened as usual, but many farmers thought it wouldn’t and didn’t go to work.

It is a comfort to see families coming out to harvest olives with their women and children, and the kiss blown to us by one of the veteran farmers did the job…

7:30 Toura-Shaked Checkpoint

At the shed, several people wait for their transport. They tell us that this morning the checkpoint was opened at 7:15, as usual, even though the official opening time is 7, and during the olive-harvest month – 6:30 a.m. They complain that although less than 100 people cross this checkpoint, this is always done slowly. Even now we saw a group of people waiting in front of the turnstile on the Toura side, without any obvious reason. We did not see any schoolchildren or teachers. Apparently the children are on their first quarter break. They are probably helping their families in the olive harvest. A minibus arrives to pick up the waiting workers and take them to the nearby Shahak industrial zone.


Two soldiers – a man and a woman – approach us. Who are you? Asks the man, in open despite. He doesn’t know us but commands in an ugly tone: This is a closed military zone and you are not allowed to photograph! They turned around and went back to their post.

We felt bad.