Barta`a checkpoint: violation of women's dignity

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Hannah Heller and Hagar Dror Meliniak (Photos and Reporting) with Pierre (Driver) Translation: Bracha Ben-Avraham

Barta’a – Reihan Checkpoint – 14:30

Students and seamstresses were crossing to the seamline zone.   We walked down the length of the covered sleeveinfo-icon towards the checkpoint exit to the West Bank.   Once again one of the guards asked us worriedly why we were inside the checkpoint and we attempted to calm him and assure him that everything was all right. 

To my surprise, when I telephoned the number of the checkpoint I was able to speak with Yaniv Levi, the new checkpoint vice-manager, who gave me his mobile phone number - 050-6291052.  I let him know about people’s request to open the checkpoint at 04:00 rather than 04:30, their complaints about crowding in the morning, and about men and women being forced to stand close together [which is contrary to Muslim tradition].

Yaniv listened attentively and said he would be committed to the following:

  1. A separate lane will be provided for women.
  2. He will speak to Charlie, the checkpoint manager about the possibility of opening the checkpoint earlier, at 04:00.
  3. Usually 10 electronic inspection points are operating unless there is a technical problem.

A Palestinian woman near us had a problem.She is a resident of Barta’a and was waiting for her sister who was delayed in the checkpoint and not allowed to cross.Hannah inquired what the problem was and it appeared that the matter was being dealt with.

Tura – Shaked Checkpoint was quiet and appeared to be abandoned. 

A’anin Checkpoint – 15:50

People returning to A’anin were crowded next to the iron gate opposite four armed soldiers from the Nachal who were guarding the fence.   We approached to see when the checkpoint would open.  It apparently would not open until 16:00. 

The soldiers were friendly to us.  Two of them told us to our surprise that they had attended lectures given by Machsom Watch, one during a pre-army course and the other in high school (which seemed unlikely).   Aside from greeting us the Palestinians seemed reluctant to strike up a conversation.  Unfortunately, we don’t speak Arabic and they don’t speak Hebrew, and M. is not present because he is still mourning the death of his son and has not gone out to work in his olive grove.

The area in front of the checkpoint looks like it has been flattened and cleaned up after the rains have begun.  Hannah speculates that the military is renovating the checkpoint.  Is that so?