Barta'a checkpoint: Many complaints about overcrowding in the mornings

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Tami Rituv, photos, Neta Golan, Reporting Translation: Bracha Ben-Avraham

15:50 – We drove past Barta’a Checkpoint.  The parking lot was full and many people were walking down the fenced-in covered sleeveinfo-icon that leads to the terminal on their way home to the West bank.  The truck parking lot  was empty.  We continued on to Yaabed Checkpoint.    A military vehicle was parked next to one of the pillboxes between the village of Emricha and the checkpoint.

16:10  Yaabed – Dotan Checkpoint

The flags of the Golani Brigade were flying next to the guard post.    Two soldiers were standing on the porch on the roof of the pillbox and they were not  stopping traffic in either direction.  There were two army vehicles parked on the side. 

16:30 Barta’a – Reihan Checkpoint, Palestinian Side

The parking lot was still full.  We parked on the side of the road that was marked with red and white (no parking area) in back of a line of Palestinian cars.    Evidently there have been no parking fines recently.   A loud argument was taking place next to the shed where people cross and the Palestinian attendant was keeping things in order.  People complained  about the terrible crowds in the morning and asked us to come and observe.     They claimed that we had not come in the morning for more than a year and didn’t believe that we had come and observed.    Closing the holes in the separation fence has not only caused inhumane crowding in the morning,  but also led to a large number of requests for the phone number of Sylvia’s team who help people with problems concerning entry into Israel and other issues.    We gave cards with the number to anyone who wanted it and wished them luck.    Many people were returning from the West bank at this hour and  some people were returning  to the seamline zone.  A new booth had been added next to the kiosk and the peanut booth  where they were selling watermelon at one for NIS 10 or 2 for NIS 15.

The drive to Tura Checkpoint was slow.  There was a line of cars driving from Reihan – Barta’a Checkpoint to Israel.

17:00 Tura-Shaked Checkpoint

There was a lot of traffic at the checkpoint, which is usually empty.  The silly stoplight at the vehicle crossing was red.   Five cars were waiting to cross to the West Bank.    A few minutes later the light turned green and the cars slowly crossed eastward.  A few women were waiting for their ride under the shed.  Their ride arrived at 17:10 and we left.