Barta'a checkpoint: Crossing in the morning is very difficult

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Netta Golan and Hannah Heller (reporting) translator: Naomi Halsteadg


On the roads and by the sides of the roads in the seamline zone, there is a strong presence of army vehicles and soldiers  on an exercise.

At the Barta’a-Reihan checkpoint the parking lots on the Palestinian side are full of vehicles and the workers who have been working in Israel and the seamline zone are starting to come back to the cars and to their homes in the West Bank. We continue eastwards from Barta’a into the West Bank, to the Ya’abad-Dotan checkpoint. Beside the Havat el Neve settlement, two buses are waiting for a group of teenage girls who are returning from an organized trip to the settlement. On the road, traffic is lively in both directions (east-west). Crossing through the checkpoint goes fast. At the elevated post atop the watchtower, which overlooks the valley, we see military action. Parallel to the road leading to the checkpoint, we see extensive agricultural activity, and at the side of the road there are stalls selling fruit and flowers. To all appearances, “peaceful rural life".


We return to the Barta’a checkpoint. Workers are returning home from work and everyone talks about the hassle of getting across in the morning. A contractor returning from Tel Aviv reports that in the morning they don’t always open up two transit lines at the entrance, which causes crowding and lots of delays. One person is even very angry with us for not coming in the morning to see what happens and do something about the congestion and difficulties getting through.


Another worker shows us a video he took in the morning. It’s crowded outside but at the entrance to the terminal, only five are allowed in at one time. But the toughest story we heard was from a resident of Anin who works in Ramat Hasharon. He has to make a very long detour from Anin (a village close to the separation fence) to the Barta’a checkpoint via Jenin (two long journeys, a waste of time and money). He has to get to the checkpoint at 5:00 in order to get to his work in Ramat Hasharon on time, and goes home in the afternoon via the same unnecessary route. Amazingly, he’s in a good mood, as is the owner of the peanut stall beside him “insh’alla (thanks God)”

Anin (agricultural) checkpoint: At the entrance to the checkpoint are three army vehicles and good-humored soldiers (from the exercise) who are drinking coffee and who greet us. It’s 4:10 p.m. and most of the workers have already gone across. Another five workers hurry to the checkpoint and are checked by two soldiers who are standing by the open gate. The checkpoint is closed and the soldier who mans the empty checkpoint 24/7 is the only one left.

Tura-Shaked checkpoint: Workers returning from work, mainly in the seamline zone, return to the West Bank. A number of cars also go across. Two residents of the seamline zone are returning from Jenin and wait for a ride. The gap in the fence has been firmly sealed.