Northern checkpoints: soldiers instead of loopholes

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Marina Banai and Ruthi Tuval Translation: Bracha Ben-Avraham

14:45 – We drove up to the old Barta’a Checkpoint and found that it was manned by soldiers.  Beneath the village of  Dahar El Abed opposite a hole in the fence that had been partially blocked there was a tent made of army camouflage material from which we heard singing. 

At 15:00 we passed Barta’a Reihan Checkpoint.  All the parking lots were completely full.  At the Um A Reihan Junction electrical work was being carried out and perhaps new cameras were being installed, as shown in the photos that we took. 

There was heavy construction equipment parked on both sides of the road at the Dotan Junction including a steam roller.    We turned at the junction to see what crops they were growing.   The fields beneath the tiny village of Jebel Al Akra where farmers had previously grown okra,  had now been converted to a field of wheat and the seeds had already been harvested.

15:20 – Yaabed – Dotan Checkpoint

Cars were passing without delay, including cars with yellow license plates.   There were a lot of military vehicles driving along the road as well.

The gate on the road to the settlement of Maoz Tzvi was locked.

At 15:30 we drove past Barta’a Reihan Checkpoint again.   Trucks were waiting in their designated parking area.    Many people were walking down the sleeveinfo-icon towards the West Bank. 

15:45 – A’anin Agricultural Checkpoint – A lot of people were sitting and waiting for the gate to open.   A few of them preferred to wait for three hours rather than travel as far as Reihan Checkpoint to cross.    Possibly they have to cross here because this is where they are listed.   They already know that the soldiers who are situated here along the fence are not responsible for opening the checkpoint.   There was also an army tent located in the olive grove nearby.  People reported they had seen the soldiers there.  The army jeep with the soldiers arrived and they opened the checkpoint at 15:50, checking every person who crossed to their village.   50 people and one tractor crossed.   Someone complained that having the checkpoint open on Mondays and Wednesdays was not convenient for them and that they preferred that it open on Mondays and Thursdays.   We met our friend F. who told us that since the large hole in the fence near Um Al Fahem had been closed, his children remained at home with nothing to do.  He has 24 grandchildren.  “Do you bring them candy every day?”  “Candy?  They don’t want candy, they want money.”    We also spoke with a young resident of Um Al Fahem who had driven his father to visit family in A’anin.   “Everything was easier before the fence was built,” he explained.  

16:20 – Tura – Shaked Checkpoint

Everything was quiet and calm.  Soldiers from the 50th battalion of the Nachal were situated in a nearby tent.   According to Ruthi, this was the unit in which she had served when she was in the HaShomer Youth movement 56 years ago, before the occupation began.