Makkabim (Beit Sira), Ni'lin (Qiryat Sefer)
Na’alin Checkpoint (Hashmonaim)
5:00 The parking lot is filling up with cars and groups of people waiting for transport. Groups of people praying in some places and slight but continuous flow of people leaving the inspection area. We see a light in the restroom. The restrooms are functioning and have been for a week, although only two stalls are currently open.
A permanent visitor to the Checkpoint sits near the kiosk and claims that the pressure begins at 5:20 and continues until 6:00. We surround the inspection line and wait a bit but there is no crowding or pressure. People come down an alternate path (a steep path which can be slippery in winter). Because we were prevented to pass through the inspection line, we climb the alternate path and return via the vehicle checkpoint. We are stopped and asked for permits but the person in charge arrives and enables us to go through. Approaching us, the person in charge of the checkpoint and the guide. They ask to show us the latest improvements, such as a new awning being constructed and new inspection point, air conditioned and sophisticated. They tell us that many people who previously passed via Kalandia now prefer to lengthen their trip and pass through this checkpoint due to the quick pace and comfort. They also say that these days, DOC representatives are positioned next to vehicle checkpoints and in the works two extra passages.They inform us that two restrooms closed today will be opened in the near future after sewage work is completed. As for the alternate path, they say there is a better road through the parking area (about a 15 minute walk) but the people prefer the shortcut. (We will investigate this next time.)
6:20 Maccabim Checkpoint
The flow of people arriving to this checkpoint is small and the line is short, but at the entrance there is crowding and advancing in line is slow. Our joining the people standing in line prompted some to talk of their difficulties, the discomfort, and the actual need to pass through checkpoints; the delays when machines are broken, or when the women at the inspection points change shifts. These things are voiced calmly; save for one person who expresses himself more bluntly about the hardships.
The crowding is uncomfortable, especially us, as women, amongst so many men. But within 15 minutes we are outside, as well as all those who were required to present permits.
In sum, an ordinary day without any unusual incidents. Pretty swift passage to another day of work in Israel.