The Israeli police round up the Palestinians in the seam area and the money goes to the civil administration

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Neta Golan and Shu8li Bar (photos and Report) Translation: Bracha Ben-Avraham

“our” checkpoints in the north are being enclosed by monstrous concrete walls  that are replacing the separation fence.   A’anin Agricultural checkpoint 214 that was previously open twice each week is now closed.    Its gate will open twice each year for the upcoming olive harvest in October and then for the plowing season.   Soon the other agricultural checkpoint at Tibeh Romena 254.  We urged two of the farmers from A’anin to go to the District Coordination and Liaison Office  and ask to be permitted to cross at Tibeh Romena Checkpoint near their village to reach their olive groves.  They were told they could not and that this checkpoint would soon be closed as well.  Evil and stupidity go together like a horse and wagon.

Our shift today was very depressing. The sight of the concrete wall crawling from one checkpoint to the next like a huge winding sleeping serpent  makes us feel bad because the wall personifies our losing battle against the occupation.   They also account for the alienation between us and our friends whom we have become accustomed to seeing each week since 2007, together with our shame and helplessness at abandoning them.  Soon they will also find a way to close the sky for them and some genius in the administration will decide they no longer need sun or rain.  

At the upper parking lot at Barta’a Checkpoint we were greeted by the usual sight of workers leaving for work.  Sometimes these scenes are written in “routine“ reports, but we must also realize that this routine is also steeped in a great deal of cruelty, harassment, and corruption and soldiers who do a lot of evil to the Palestinians.

The waiting line under the shed at the lower parking lot was very crowded at first but the crowd eventually thinned out.  One person approached us and received a card with Sylvia’s contact information.      

The parking lots are far too large in relation to the checkpoint and were not full.   We wonder what is behind the ugly leveling of the chalk stone hills opposite the checkpoint.   Who is profiting from this, how much, and how?   There are two people who pocket a lot of money from parking fees.   There are rumors that they were investigated, but returned to work at the checkpoint.  
When we left the lower Palestinian parking lot we were stopped by a security guard who claimed that Jews cannot go there and sent us to be checked.  We asked why  we were told that it was orders from above.  We explained that we have been coming here every week since he was in kindergarten .  So why is today any different?  We were told that this was because of orders.  By the time we were checked and our bags inspected we were late to observe the opening of the agricultural checkpoint at Tibeh Romena beneath Um Al Fahem., and the checkpoint was closed.  When we arrived there we picked up someone we knew who was slowly ascending the steep hill towards the checkpoint.  We took him to one of the main streets in the city.  On the way he told us that all entry permits and magnetic cards are available on a phone app for coordinating Palestinian actions and soldiers no longer examine paper documents.

At Tura Checkpoint three cars were waiting to cross to Area A.   One was driven by a woman and full of small children.  A policeman from the Border Patrol wandered among them and asked politely  when the checkpoint would open.   We didn’t hear the entire conversation. 

ON the way home we stopped to see a friend from the territories to take money for a traffic violation that he had not succeeded in paying.    He was fined NIS 750 for driving along the shoulder of a main road in the seamline zone.    He explained that there was a leak in the radiator of his car and that he had to stop every few kilometers to fill it up with water.   His claim did not impress the policeman.