The northern checkpoints: The tobacco is blossoming again

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Rachel Weizman and Ruti Tuval Translation: Naomi Halsted

06:35: At the entrance to Harish, Border Policemen are waiting for those coming from the east (seamline zone and West Bank), and inspecting cars apparently at random because the line of cars waiting isn’t particularly long.

06:40 Barta’a-Reihan checkpoint

The intersection, parking lots, and roadsides are full of people and cars. We cross the checkpoint and observe it from the south. The parking lots around it are filling up. People are striding along and climbing up towards the terminal. The large parking lot that has been built by digging into the adjacent hill is still not in use. We park there on powdery white earth.

Beside the pillbox (watchtower) at Imreiha junction, a jeep is apparently observing the road. There’s no one manning the guard posts along the way to Ya’bed checkpoint now.

07:10 Ya’bed-Dotan checkpoint

Soldiers in the Golani patrol are manning the checkpoint. They suggest that we come in with the car, make a U-turn and come back in the convoy of cars coming from Jenin. Being used to being kept away from the checkpoint, this is a refreshing novelty for us. Every car going to Area C is detained for a short questioning. A car with a trailer full of goods is detained for extensive questioning.

Upon our return to Barta’a checkpoint, we are asked to show our identity cards (one was enough) and are sent to stand for a while on the red X. As we go round the square, we notice about ten cars waiting in line to go up to the inspection area. Many workers are still coming up the covered sleeveinfo-icon.

08:00 Tura-Shaked checkpoint

The driver Youssef is waiting for passengers. Cars are arriving from the other side. Drivers are having to wait too long to cross into the West Bank. Two soldiers approach us and ask us not to interfere with them and for our part we ask them not to interfere with one another because people here are in a hurry to get to work. The driver who was waiting is signaled to cross and smiles at us with a nod. An older pedestrian emerges from the sleeveinfo-icon and asks for toilets to be installed there.