On the way we saw soldiers attacking a hill, why?

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Hannah Heller, Neta Golan (Reporting and Photos), Driver Pierre Translation: Bracha Ben-Avraham

05:45 – Barta’a Reihan Checkpoint, Seamline Zone Side

Many cars were driving ahead of us towards the checkpoint to pick up workers.  Other transport vehicles were already parked near the opening to the sleeveinfo-icon on the seamline zone side, and many people were sitting on the curb or waiting under the shelter.  When we went to walk down the sleeve to the terminal entrance we met our friends the seamstresses on their way up who work in Barta’a.  Many workers were coming out of the terminal and some stopped to buy coffee, cakes, and phone cards at the settler’s kiosk.  Hannah climbed onto the bench to peek over the fence.  The parking lot was full and people who arrived entered the terminal immediately.  There were two sophisticated modern biometric inspection points operating inside the terminal.  A publicity film was already released about them.  People were passing through quickly and people were pleased.  Only one person complained that the conveyer belt for inspecting items was operating slowly.  Others claimed that there were two inspection points and that the inspection went quickly.  A real “garden of Eden” of occupation.     

The increase in the number of people crossing here is due to a decision two weeks ago to allow residents of the Jenin vicinity who have permits to work in Israel to cross at Barta’a in the mornings.  The owner of the kiosk is also enjoying the decision and has hired two women and a man to assist him.  According to one of the women, about 1500 people cross here every morning, including residents of Kafin (despite the fact that they “belong” to the District Coordination and Liaison Office in Tulkarem).  According to her, even more people cross in the afternoon because not everyone is aware of the new decision to allow them to cross here in the morning as well.  It looked to us as if there were more than 1500 people crossing. 


06:30 – Aanin Checkpoint

The soldiers were already there and opened the checkpoint on time.  11 adults, two children, and a tractor crossed. 


06:55 – Tibeh – Romena Checkpoint

The soldiers were already in place and were waiting to open the checkpoint at 07:00.  They are punctual.  They performed a sort of strange ceremony in which they changed places, a sort of dance, before the checkpoint opened.  It was not clear why they had to open the gate on the seamline zone side when there has been a wide opening in the fence next to it for some time. Nine people, a woman, two children, and a tractor crossed.  The gate had to be opened wide to let the tractors cross.   Another woman arrived at the last minute.  The soldiers asked if there was anyone else and she replied that her sister was coming.  The two sisters crossed.  They belong to the Jabarin clan from Um el Fahem, some of whom have been living in Romena since 1948.


On our way back near the upper entrance to Um el Fahem we saw an army vehicle parked and soldiers running from it up the hill, but we didn’t know why.