Northern Checkpoints,Tura: The occupation looks like a garbage dumpster

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Ruti T. (Photographs) and Marina B. (Reporting) Marcia L., Translation


15:30 – We traveled straight to Harmesh Checkpoint.  On the way, we saw many cars at Barta’a Checkpoint.  Harmesh Checkpoint wasn’t manned and the traffic flowed in two directions without interruption.  We decided to visit the settlement of Harmesh.  The guard at the gate agreed that we could tour the place that appeared to be very neglected.  Only 50 families live there and surprisingly, there is a large swimming pool.  (The maintenance of the pool is NIS 300,000 a year.)  Half of the residents are immigrants from the Soviet Union who live there for comfort or convenience, not for ideological reasons. In 2002, three residents were killed at the hands of a Palestinian armed with a Kalashnikov and in 2005, another resident was shot to death north of the settlement.

16:00 – Settlement of Mevo-Dotan

We also decided to visit this settlement, where 120 families live on the lands of Ya’bed. This settlement is a bit more well-groomed than Harmesh and they also have a swimming pool.  A car that passed us stopped, and the female driver, who identified us from the checkpoint, turned to us and said, “You’ve been swarming around down there at the checkpoint until you arrived here?” On the way out, next to the “Warm Home for Soldiers”, the gate opened and we left.  Palestinian cars are parked outside the gate.  Palestinians are allowed to work in the settlement, but they cannot bring in their cars?  No and no.

16:15 – Ya’bed-Dotan Checkpoint

At the checkpoint, all the drivers welcome us with peace.  There is a lot of vehicle disruption when a double-sized truck is stuck in the zig-zag between the concrete blocks.  Where are the soldiers when you need them?  After five minutes the Section Commander (from the company “Raven Paratroopers”), commented on parking our car and politely requested to move it.

16:35 – Barta’a-Reihan Checkpoint

There was great crowding at Barta’a Checkpoint. Three young brothers sell us coffee.  Every day they “work” at the checkpoint from 14:00 until 18:00.  Someone asked us why there were so many cars if there are no jobs?  He told us that in the past, 30 taxis were there to transport laborers, but with the decrease in work, people simply come to the checkpoint in the hope that someone will give them a job.  Two people asked for help with work permits.

17:20 – Tura-Shaked Checkpoint

We were amazed at the amount of garbage the soldiers produce.  The garbage dumpster moves around from place to place in and out the checkpoint, but the rate of emptying it hasn’t changed.  The dumpster is bursting and the garbage is scattered everywhere.  We walked in the direction of the checkpoint to speak with the commander of the place about the piles of refuse. The army police officer who was present promised us that he would deal with the problem.  Simultaneously, a couple in a car that came from the direction of the Seamline Zone, stopped beside us and complained that in the past months, the waiting time at the checkpoint can get to be half an hour. The soldiers don’t behave nicely to the citizens, they don’t arrive on time to open the checkpoint in the morning, and in the evening, they close before the appointed time.  One of the times, the man knocked on the door of the inspection room in order to complain about the delay, and he was sent back to the Seamline Zone with no possibility to pass through the checkpoint.

17:40 – Waze sent us home via Umm al Fatah.