'Anin, Barta'a-Reihan, Tura-Shaked

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Zafrira Zamir, Neta Golan (reporting). Translation: Bracha Ben-Avraham

It’s a pity that nothing is new at the northern checkpoint

14:45 – Tura – Shaked Checkpoint

Two women and a man were waiting under the neglected shelter. An Israeli car arrived and the group left. A Palestinian car crossed to the seamline zone and another crossed to the West Bank. It was quiet except for the call of the Muezzin, and one red poppy raised its head.

15:10 – A’anin Checkpoint

The soldiers from the military police were already present, but they only opened the checkpoint at the appointed hour of 15:15. About 10 farmers and one tractor were waiting to cross. M., the tractor driver, explained that there were few people because it had rained in the morning. He asked us to stay until he had crossed with his tractor and wagon loaded with scrap. He explained that last Monday (the checkpoint is only open on Mondays and Wednesdays) he was forced to wait for half an hour before he was allowed to cross with his scrap wagon. Today he crossed without any problem.

 15:40 – Barta’a Reihan Checkpoint, Palestinian Side

The parking lot was full and disorderly. We bought coffee from two young boys who were wandering among the maneuvering cars and selling coffee for a meager livelihood.
Many people were returning from work in Israel or the seamline zone at this hour. Some emerged from the metal crossing facility directly to the waiting taxis (which are actually private cars.)  Drivers were standing at the exit shouting “Jenin, Jenin.”  Others walked to their cars or to taxis parked in the parking lot. The few women coming out took a short cut and exited through the side exit. Four of them got into a car with a woman driver headed for Jenin. We were happy to see each other and to see a woman driver, which is a rare sight here.  

16:00 On our way to our car a Palestinian man who spoke Hebrew approached us to translate for his friend. His friend has been invited to work for an Israeli contractor, but he is forbidden to enter  Israel because he has been in jail 25 years ago. He cannot enter Israel before 2100 (!). We gave him Sylvia’s contact details, who deals with requests regarding entrance permits and eliminating bans to enter Israel by the Special Service and the police, and wished him luck. We cannot do more. The man also told us that he had been imprisoned for eight and a half years as a security prisoner, and he had learned Hebrew in prison using the book “1000 words” that is designed to teach Hebrew to new immigrants. He asked us to get the three volumes of the book for his friend. He himself is also forbidden to enter Israel, but he has no interest in going back because he works in the Palestinian security services.