Checkpoint in Ratea: let us work. If not, Hamas will come

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Tami Rituv (photos), Hannah Heller, Photos by M. (A Palestinian) Translation: Bracha Ben-Avraham

Barta’a Checkpoint – Many vehicles were arriving at the upper parking lot from Israel.  An unending flow of people continued to walk down the sleeveinfo-icon and into the terminal who were returning from work to the West Bank.   Some greeted us and others gave us cynical reports.  “It’s always crowded in the morning.”  “there are always problems in the morning.”  Three young workers were detained in the sleeve while one of the security guards in the vehicle checkpoint outside the sleeve checked their documents.   Residents of East Barta’a were walking up the sleeve in the opposite direction.  They were people returning from Jenin from shopping or workers who were going to work during the night shift.   One man who was loaded down with shopping bags reported that he had been detained in the terminal for an hour while all of his shopping bags were checked “Because of the chicken.”  

M. approached us.  He has worked for many years in Evan Yehuda.  He told us in fluent Hebrew that he comes from a village near Jenin and arrives here at 04:15 each morning, but manages to cross the checkpoint only at 06:00.  He also sent us photos that he had taken that show the overcrowding conditions  that are intolerable.  He also explained: “For us the most important thing is to earn a living, and if we can’t earn a living than Hamas will provide for us.”

Tura Checkpoint – On the way to the checkpoint we observed the new construction and expansion of the settlement of Reihan.  There was traffic moving through the checkpoint in both directions – from the West Bank and from the seamline zone.  Workers were returning to the West Bank from work in Israel and from the seamline zone.  Women students were returning from Jenin and other women were returning to Tura from visiting in the seamline zone villages.  Workers were going to work in the Shahak Industrial Zone where they worked the evening shift.