Mevo-Dotan area: New road for the settlers passes through Palestinian Olive grove

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Marina B. and Ruthi T. Marcia L., Translation

14:30 - We crossed Barta’a Checkpoint.  The parking lots were full. A few people cross via the sleeveinfo-icon (the enclosed passage to the terminal).

On the way to Ya’bed checkpoint, we decided to explore a little deeper on the new road, that opened in the Dotan Valley, towards the hills from the south, on which the settlements of Mevo Dotan A and B are located.  We parked the car in front of the new checkpoint (a yellow barrier, like an arm), which the army generally uses.  Last week, the person who finally opened the gate was a settler who complained that he waited for the gate to be opened for him (and who finally passed through himself).  We bypassed the checkpoint by foot and climbed up on a paved, wide road, until we reached the top of a very steep hill, just to be certain that it turned in the direction of Mevo Dotan B.  It indeed turns in the direction of the settlement, but we did not go to the end.  We estimated that the road continues for two kilometers.  Along the entire slope, there is deep excavation for rainwater drainage, and large rocks were cleared to the sides.  All of this is inside an olive grove that belongs to farmers from Ya’bed, located opposite, beyond the northern side of the Dotan Valley.  On our descent, we met a shepherd from Amricha who was grazing goats and sheep among the olive trees.  He knew how to tell us that the road really does reach the settlement and he is very happy about this:  (“one hundred percent”).  This road saves many long and winding kilometers for the few settlers of Mevo Dotan B.  As far as we remember, only six families live there. It would be interesting to know if the owners of the expropriated land were at least compensated and who paid.  We will clarify this.

15:20 - Ya’bed-Mevo Dotan Checkpoint

The traffic flows and slows down at the narrow checkpoint, especially when a large truck passes, but the traffic is not delayed.  Soldiers observe from the top of the guard tower (pillbox).

At 15:30, we hurried to Anin checkpoint, which is supposed to be open at 16:00 for only a quarter of an hour.  We arrived at 15:50, exactly when two tractors passed, and the gate locked immediately after them.  The soldiers took the trouble to return a few heavy yellow columns, stuck in a semi-circle in front of the gate.  Three border police approached us and their commander spoke to us rudely.  He claimed that it was not his job to say what the opening hours should be during the harvest.  When we stood our ground, because the gate was supposed to be open until 16:15, he demanded to see our identity cards and even bothered to clarify who we were by phone. The devil is in the knowing.  However, at some point, he softened up and even told us where he was from.