Northern checkpoints: What is hidden behind the quiet and routine? Increasing hardships for the Palestinians.

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Zafrira Zamir, Neta Golan (Reporting and Photos) Translation: Bracha Ben-Avraham

15:20 – Tura – Shaked Checkpoint

The checkpoint was quiet and empty as usual at this time of day.  A small truck arrived and drops off three workers who crossed to the West Bank and drove back from where it had come.

We drove past Barta’a Checkpoint.  Five trucks loaded with building materials were waiting in the parking lot near the vehicle checkpoint.  This was unusual since most trucks wait to cross in the morning. 

15:40 – Hermesh Checkpoint

As usual in the past few years the checkpoint was open and cars were crossing freely in both directions.  A red sign warned against entering Area A.  The road leads to Tulkarem.  Unlike most days, the watchtower at the turnoff leading to the settlement of Hermesh was manned.  The sign read that  Route 585 leads to Mevo Dotan and Afula, but there is no mention of the Palestinians city of Jenin or the town of Yaabed or any other Palestinian town simply does not exist according to the sign. 

15:50 – Yaabed – Dotan Checkpoint

The checkpoint was not manned and cars were crossing freely in both directions.  Five Palestinian cars drove down from Mevo Dotan.  Perhaps the people work there but we didn’t know.

16:10 – Barta’a Reihan Checkpoint, Palestinian Side

The trucks that we had seen before were now going in to be checked.  The parking lot was full, but not as full as in previous days when more people were allowed to cross here in the morning.  A lot of people were coming back from work in Israel and in the seamline zone.  Several people were praying near the crossing facility, including one of the Palestinian attendants.  Three shiny motorcycles were parked there which was an unusual sight. 

16:30 – On our way to our car we met the man who had asked for a copy of the Hebrew instruction book “1000 Words” for his friends (See report from 27 March).  I have not yet found it and perhaps I didn’t look hard enough.  The man said that it was important for his friend to learn the holy tongue that Moses spoke.  Another man said that Sylvia was taking care of trying to lift the ban placed on him to enter Israel.  We wished him luck.