The northern chekpoints: rain clouds over the occupation

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Marina banai and Ruthi Tuval Translation: Bracha Ben-Avraham

14:20 – Tura Shaked Checkpoint

We stood in the parking lot looking over the center of the checkpoint.  Two soldiers from the Taoz Brigade of the military police came up to us to announce that it was forbidden for us to take pictures here.  We told them about ourselves and asked about the litter surrounding the checkpoint.  They said that it was not their issue, but had to be dealt with by the regional council.  They were, in fact, concerned about the environment.   The problem is that it is not clear which regional council is in charge here, We received the usual answer about their job – “We’re ensuring security here just like the police ensure security at Ben Gurion Airport.”  

15:50 Barta’a Reihan Checkpoint, Seamline Zone Side

A., a well-known acquaintance, came up to us and explained that crossing in the morning has been very difficult since daylight savings time ended (end of October). It is very crowded.  He arrives at 05:00 AM when it is still dark and returns home at 6:15 in the evening.  Workers wearing black uniforms with fluorescent stripes were returning home from their work paving roads in Tel Aviv.  They cross here at 07:15 when crossing takes place quickly.

A man spoke to us who wife and children live in East Barta’a in the seamline zone, while he lives there as well as in the occupied territories.  He has not been allowed to return home to Barta’a for a week.  Another person told us about a friend who received a traffic report near the checkpoint and had not been permitted to cross since then. We gave them card with the contact information for Sylvia’s team who helps people who have been prevented from crossing.   We have been told that the team is extremely busy with requests and that people should be encouraged to go to the Palestinian District Coordination and Liaison Office  first or to use the phone app to find out why they have been denied entry.       

15:40 Yaabed Dotan Checkpoint

Traffic was moving.  The roof of the watchtower has been reinforced with an additional layer of sandbags.

We met our friend Anwar, who insisted on giving us bottles of olive oil for all our friends who helped him with the olive harvest near the settlement of Maoz Zvi.  As we reported, settlers harassed him (to say the least) and even banished him from his olive grove, claiming that he could not harvest there because it was too close to the settlement.