Hashmonaim (Ni'ilin), Makkabim (Beit Sira)
Ni’ilin checkpoint (Hashmona’im)
We arrived at the checkpoint around 05:25. We went through by car and parked on the roadside just beyond it. We crossed the road and stood where people jump over the safety railing and go down the dirt path toward the checkpoint. Food stands await them there, on the other side of the railing. There are stands also down below on the road from Ni’ilin.
There was a long line down below, from the pedestrian checkpoint to the yellow metal bar blocking the road from Ni’ilin. There are also food stands before the yellow bar. The line advanced relatively quickly. We saw below someone who seemed to be keeping the line orderly. We followed a noticeably-dressed man in order to see how long it takes him to cross.
We spoke to G., from Beit Sira, who works in Modi’in Ilit. He operates a bulldozer. Last week he told us he leaves it in Modi’in Illit, but takes it home on weekends and then must enter Sunday through the Ni’ilin checkpoint. The bulldozer is inspected at the vehicle checkpoint (driven by someone with an Israeli ID), and G. crosses through the pedestrian checkpoint.
We returned to the car, turned around and went through the checkpoint. We crossed smoothly. We said good morning, they wished us a good journey, no questions, no inspection. We drove around G’s tractor standing in one of the lanes and parked farther along, past the plaza.
The area bustled with people and vehicles. Most of those we spoke to said today was OK. There was apparently some pushing at the entrance to the inspection area, but even those who complained said they went through in half an hour. The man we’d picked out crossed in 25 minutes. We didn’t see G. at the exit. We must have missed him, because when we walked toward our car the bulldozer was no longer at the vehicle checkpoint. We returned to the car and drove to the Beit Sira checkpoint.
We arrived around 06:30. We parked along the road to Modi’in at the end of a long line of vehicles coming to pick up laborers. Some young men complained that not all the inspection lanes were open and it takes a long time to cross. We weren’t able to understand how long it took. One said, “Like Qalandiya,” but it seemed he and his friends knew very well that the situation here in no way resembles what goes on at Qalandiya. We waited a few minutes and didn’t see any particular problems. We left about fifteen minutes later.