Barta'a checkpoint: The passage through the gaps in the fence reduced the pressure at the checkpoint

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Pierre (driver) and Hannah Heller (reporter) Translation: Naomi Halsted

05:50, route 611 (opposite the village of Qequis on the eastern side of the separation barrier)

In a makeshift parking lot on the side of the road beside two large holes in the fence, some 20 cars and transit vans (Israeli and Palestinian) are parked, waiting to pick up the large number of workers who cross the quick way, where there’s no bureaucracy. We can see additional cars bringing more workers to the makeshift parking lot in the Palestinian village.


Reihan-Barta’a checkpoint

Dozens of workers are coming out through the checkpoint as well, some holding cups of coffee, and getting into buses and large transit vans. The morning chaos and crowding once typical of the place have disappeared now that crossing through holes in the fence has become “institutionalized.” We speak with one of the people there, a construction worker from Jenin who works in Hadera. He tells us that the checkpoint isn’t crowded now and you can get through quickly. Only on Fridays when the checkpoint is closed (for crossing into Israel), does he go to work through one of the holes in the fence. He says that on Fridays only residents of Barta’a can go through the checkpoint in both directions.

06:30 Tura Checkpoint

The checkpoint is still closed but the workers are crossing freely through a hole in the fence very close to the checkpoint. Some go on foot to the entrance of Dhaher al Malih, where their employers will pick them up, and some take the Palestinian shuttle, which during the daytime runs between Umm Reihan and the checkpoint. We were told that recently the checkpoint has been opening up between 7:00 and 7:15. An elderly man with a cane reaches the checkpoint from Umm Reihan and crosses into the West Bank through a hole in the fence. A student on his way to school crosses with him. If he waits for the official crossing to open, he’ll be late for school.

With more people now crossing through holes in the fence, there is less demand for Sylvia, who, with her team, helps people who have been refused entry to Israel for a variety of reasons to get things checked and resolved. But today we are approached by the brother of someone who has been refused entry into Israel by the GSS (General Security Services) for 11 years (a resident of Ya’abad). He recently received a special permit to bury his grandfather, who had lived in an isolated house near the Tura checkpoint.