Northern checkpoints in the shadow of the separation barrier and the terrorist attacks

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Marina Banai and Ruthi Tuval Translation: Naomi Halsted

As happened two weeks ago, once again, we were there a few hours before a shooting attack

05:30 Barta’a- Reihan checkpoint

A huge number of workers are crowding the junction, waiting for their rides to work. The parking lot on the Seamline Zone side is completely full and impossible to get through it. We continue to the parking lot on the Palestinian side. Many workers are going up the sleeveinfo-icon, which is fenced in and covered. There’s still space in the parking lots. There’s dirt all over the place! People are climbing up from the lower parking lot through a steep path inside the garbage dump. Crossing the checkpoint seems to be going ahead without delay.

06:10 Hermesh checkpoint

Around 200 meters in front of the checkpoint the young lad we met at the checkpoint last week is sitting alone on a mattress beside the road. He’s 17, from the Tel-Menashe settlement. Beside him is a row of 4 chairs like you see in the theater. He slept here last night. No, his parents aren’t at all worried. He’s a good kid, finished 11th grade and he’s done all his matriculation exams. He’s not bothered by the fact that he kept five soldiers busy guarding him while he slept. The checkpoint is open for people to cross. Two paratroopers are checking the cars and politely wishing the passengers sabah el-kher [good morning]. Reminder: this checkpoint was not operational for months and is manned now following a fatal terrorist attack.

06:30 Ya’abed-Dotan checkpoint

Apparently, there are no soldiers at all here. Traffic is light and the vehicles are passing through without delay. A few drivers wish us good morning with a smile.

06:55 Tura-Shaked checkpoint

The soldiers/policemen are already here, but people and cars are being held up. The first to go through to the Seamline Zone arrives at 7:12. A driver who advanced a little towards the checkpoint gets shouted at by a female soldier standing behind a concrete block with her weapon drawn. “Go back, back up, back up.” He backs up. His wife is sitting in the back of the car with a small child. She’s a young teacher on her way to an exam in Jenin. The soldiers finally let them through, apparently thanks to our intervention. Three Border Policemen come towards us to move us away from the gate “because it’s a security checkpoint” (?) and mutter something about some incident in the area. A driver who works in the mattress factory in the Shahak industrial park is waiting for three seamstresses who are late this morning. He explains to us that the owner doesn’t care if they’re late “we pay for the time.”

07:30 Anin checkpoint

The new gate has already been installed inside the wall. The soldiers tell us that tractors crossed yesterday even though the electricity hasn’t been connected yet. Trucks are unloading concrete blocks and a crane is working in the distance. At noon we heard on the radio that there had been a shooting attack in the area. We learnt that the T-junction at Amricha is a zero junction for some reason.

We talk to A., a dear informant from Ya’abed. The village is closed (it’s said that the attackers came from there). There’s no coming or going. He tells us that the Barta’a checkpoint has been closed as well – now, when at last he has a good job in Israel.