Tura checkpoint: we met a proud Palestinian neutralizer

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Marina Banai and Ruthi Tuval Translation: Naomi Halsted

15:15 Anin checkpoint

Two armed female soldiers were stationed here. They approached us as soon as we arrived. They do twelve-hour shifts of guard duty here. We noted sadly that the wall already hides Anin from view almost entirely. “What does it hide from you, the view of an Arab village?” wondered one of the soldiers with a mixture of disgust and sarcasm. All the same, we got a “take care of yourselves” as we parted.


15:30 Tura-Shaked checkpoint

A Border Policeman and woman finished checking a car at the turn-off towards the isolated house and approached us. We chatted and it became clear to us that not only had they been present at the killing of the mentally disturbed Palestinian a few Saturdays ago, but that we were standing opposite the very man who had shot him. They both described the event to us with pride.


And when we asked whether it’s possible to “neutralize” without killing – they said he was already holding his knife close to the female soldier’s neck. It seemed to us that the soldier risked the female soldier’s life no less, but who are we to judge.


15:55 Barta’a-Reihan checkpoint

There are loads of cars everywhere and a large number of workers are coming down the sleeveinfo-icon. The whole area is thronging with military vehicles – but the terrorist attack apparently hasn’t harmed the employment of the Palestinians who are building the new town of Harish (as an example). We stopped to take pictures of the parking lots under construction, which progress from week to week, and continued on our way.


Opposite Imreiha junction, there’s a hill with a pillbox (watchtower) on top. It’s usually deserted but today there was a lot going on – military and private vehicles on the left of the pillbox and on the right, a large tent with dozens of soldiers standing and watching the roads.


16:10 Hermesh checkpoint

The checkpoint, which had been abandoned for ages, now looks entirely different. At one of the corners, a memorial has been erected in memory of Meir Tamari, who was murdered. The place is manned by paratroopers (like everywhere else around here) who are planning soccer with settler children from Mavo Dotan, Tel Menashe, and of course Hermesh. A large white tent has been erected, padded with mattresses. The children stay over here. Another tent serves as a dining hall.


Most importantly, the checkpoint is closed for crossing. There’s a yellow iron bar blocking the entire width of the road and Palestinians returning from Barta’a checkpoint on their way to Qaffin and Tulkarem are forced “to find all sorts of roads in the area,” in the words of one of the soldiers. As we were about to leave, a woman arrived with trays of pizza for everyone.


16:35 Ya’abed-Dotan checkpoint

On the way to the checkpoint, soldiers are stationed behind the concrete blocks. There’s an incessant stream of command cars and jeeps. The checkpoint is manned. From time to time, there are traffic jams. Two soldiers approached and when they heard we observe the checkpoints and report what goes on, they told us this isn’t a barrier. “So what is it?” we asked, “a checkpoint?” “Yes, exactly that.”

When we got back to Imreiha junction, a patrol vehicle was blocking the road to Hermesh.


17:00 Barta’a-Reihan checkpoint

The long sleeve going down to the terminal was still full of workers. We didn’t stay here long and we didn’t stop any of the workers who were hurrying home.

We turned towards Harish. The line of cars in front of us reached almost as far Barta’a junction. At the exit from Harish, a police van was blocking one of the lanes. Two policemen stood beside it and inspected the cars and their passengers. A long traffic jam formed there too.