I gave a lift to a couple of Palestinians, from Rambam Hospital to the checkpoint. On Saturday there was an attempted stabbing and shooting at Jalama Checkpoint and the suspect had been killed. On the radio it was announced that the checkpoint was closed. I wanted to see what was happening there the next day.
15:40 Jalama Checkpoint
At the vehicle checkpoint through which Arabs, who are Israeli citizens, pass to and from the West Bank, the traffic looks normal. Palestinian workers return from work in Israel and pass through the gate on the side of the terminal. Many carry with them, the fruits of their agricultural labor, mainly boxes of dates.
15:50 Suddenly they close the gate. The workers stand angrily in front of the closed gate. They say this happens every day and they don’t know why. I walk through the sleeve to the gate. The gate opens, the workers pass through, and as usual at this checkpoint, a security guard approaches me. I ask why they had closed the gate and he answers that there is a reason. I tried to find out what happened yesterday and he told me that if I waited in the covered courtyard (which is allowed, according to the security guards’ version at this checkpoint), the person in charge would come to speak with me. He didn’t.
16:00 We hear an explosion. The security guards run with their weapons drawn. The traffic at the vehicle checkpoint is stopped. There is a long line of cars waiting to return to Israel. The gate at the end of the sleeve is closed. About 100 people, who at that time wanted to go home, are distanced from the gate and wait outside the opening of the sleeve. People continue to arrive in private cars, minibuses and a regular bus. All of them wait quietly in the parking lot. No one knows what is happening. One of the passengers, a resident of Baka-El Garbiya, is interested in the MachsomWatch tag. He explains to me that this is an exercise and that the explosion is fake. Perhaps he knows. The traffic to Israel starts again.
16:20 Soldiers are running around the place. I decide to leave. The entrance gate to the vehicle checkpoint, on the road to Israel from the West Bank, is closed. Soldiers stand by the side of the roundabout outside the checkpoint, directing the traffic and hurrying the cars along. Workers who arrive that hour are not allowed to enter the area of the checkpoint, and they wait outside, beside the junction between the pedestrian checkpoint and the merchandise checkpoint.
I regret that I didn’t give my telephone number to one of those waiting and also that I did not ask for their phone numbers. I don’t know how or when everything had ended.
Today, a moment after I sent out this report, I heard on the radio that this morning two Palestinians tried to carry out an attack at the Jalama Checkpoint. One person was killed and two, apparently, were injured.