Barta'a (old agricultural gate), East Bartaa Junction, Tura-Shaked, Ya'bed-Dotan

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Marina Banai and Ruthi Tuval. Translation: Bracha Ben-Avraham

06:35 – We drove by the southern entrance to East Barta’a. The area was crowded with vehicles picking up workers who had crossed through gaps in the separation fence. Barta’a checkpoint was also crowded with cars on both sides of the separation fence.

06:50 – Yaabed – Dotan Checkpoint

Traffic was moving without delay. Thousands of squills were in bloom on the road to Hermesh Checkpoint. The checkpoint was open and light traffic was moving without delay.

07:15 – We hurried to get to Tura Checkpoint to meet workers and schoolchildren. We saw only two girls in striped school uniforms who had arrived separately. Someone coming from the West Bank entertained us with a stand-up comedy routine about the political virus and the Arab virus that was adopted by Israel to justify the mistreatment of Arab workers. The fact is that there are 20 cases in Tura, including a 90-year-old woman, and nothing happened to any of them.  

We took a peek at the small school in Dahar al Malec. Since it has been built the children do not have to walk to school in Tura through the checkpoint and the dangerous road leading to it.

07:55 – We returned to Barta’a Checkpoint and parked on the seamline zone side. There were still a lot of taxis waiting to pick up workers and it was very crowded.  We spoke with a man who was waiting for his employer to pick him up. He had a work permit and felt that it was not proper for him to cross through holes in the fence. “Why should I do that?  I’m happy that I have work, but they are strangling people at the checkpoints without any reason.”  He reported that he had bought a small all-terrain vehicle and two beds at Shaked (the settlement in the seamline zone) and that the purchase was certified. He managed to bring the all-terrain vehicle across after a great deal of bureaucracy, but the beds are still stored at Shaked because he was not allowed to bring them across. He also complained about two officials at the checkpoint who were treating people badly and delaying them for no reason.