Northern checkpoints: Steal land and prevent passage

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Rachel Weisman (Driver), Ruthi Tuval (Reporting) Translation: Bracha Ben-Avraham

06:35 – We arrived at the old Barta’a Checkpoint from the direction of Harish. 

There were three luxurious transport vehicles parked next to the embankment.  Several people arrived from the West Bank through the hole in the fence.  No one stopped them and the drivers waved to us.

At 06:45 we drove past the separation fence near the Palestinian village of Qeiqis.  An improvised parking lot has developed near the village for people coming into Israel and the seamline zone from the West Bank who don’t wish to cross through the checkpoints.  There were lots of cars parked on the side of the road and many people walking around.  At the head of the line were two cars from the Samaria Regional Council.  We got out to observe what was going on and a policeman ordered us to leave because we were interfering with traffic on the road.  They are giving fines to everyone who is interfering with traffic – i.e., anyone who stops here.  We didn’t manage to talk with the many drivers and workers who were gathered there, indeed in conditions that were unsafe.

A man named A. from Yaabed approached us in the northern parking lot of Reihan – Barta’a Checkpoint.   He owns an olive grove that is located on the hill near the new road that the I.D.F. has paved to the settlement of Maoz Zvi and Mevo Dotan B.   We were pleased to meet him because we have not yet learned how this new road has hindered the farmers of Yaabed.   A. explained that he has a good relationship  with people in the first settlement of Mevo Dotan, but the settlers from Maoz Zvi harass him and behave violently towards him.    

“The chaos began last year,” he explained.  He has difficulty making his way to his olive grove and asks that the army move the gate that the army installed (to which the settlers have the key) at least one kilometer away so that he can plow his land and prune his olive trees.     

We hurried to Tura – Shaked checkpoint and arrived there at 07:20.  It was quiet and there was little traffic.  There sun was low in the sky and blinded us, and I fell down.  Two soldiers came immediately and asked if I needed a medic to come.  There was no need and nothing was broken but I had several bruises.   We recuperated over a cup of coffee in Harish and returned to the traffic jam going north on Route 6.