Hashmonaim (Ni'ilin), Makkabim (Beit Sira)
Hashmona’im (Na’alin), Macabbim
Much dissatisfaction at the Macabbim checkpoint because of the decision to close it on Fridays!
05:25 – 06:45 Traffic flowed with no problems at both checkpoints.
05:25 We arrived at the Macabbim checkpoint. In speaking to laborers waiting for transportation we learned that for the past two weeks the checkpoint has been closed on Fridays and they’re forced to cross through the Hashmona’im checkpoint!!! Many complained that closing the checkpoint greatly lengthens their journey (one young man said he has to leave home at 02:00), and makes the trip more expensive (ten shekels instead of two).
The checkpoint staff confirmed that it closes on Fridays, adding that an announcement had been made in advance. They say about 1700-1800 people cross during the week and only half that number on Friday. They gave us the checkpoint’s phone number so we could speak to the security officer later.
Additional complaints included: the existing shed, which we estimate to be 5x10 meters in size, isn’t large enough when it rains; the rigorous inspection, which requires removing coats in the bitter cold. They say inspection takes 20 minutes per person, and it takes from 30 minutes to an hour to go through the checkpoint. When we observed the crossing flowed and about ten people crossed per minute.
05:55 We left for the Hashmona’im checkpoint.
06:05 Hashomona’im checkpoint. Here, too, people say it takes between half an hour to an hour to go through (for example, from 05:10 to 06:10). We observed the line in front of the checkpoint; people waited six minutes before entering the inspection facility.
06:45 We left.
08:05 We telephoned the crossing and Aharon, the Macabbim security officer, called us back about ten minutes later. He was very polite. He said that since only half as many people go through Macabbim and Hashmona’im on Fridays, they decided to close Macabbim and send people to Hashmona’im – for financial reasons, of course… The change was made in coordination with the Land Crossings Authority (the Ministry of Defense), with the Civil Administration and with the Coordinator of Activities in the Territories (the IDF).
Regarding the shed, he said the sheds at all the crossings are under review and promised to raise the issue of Macabbim and hopes the situation will be corrected.
Regarding the inspection procedure and the requirement to remove coats in the cold weather, he said that the area is covered, though open, and even though there’s heating it’s still cold, but people only are without a coat for no more than a minute. We’ll follow up on this matter during our next shift.