Bethlehem Checkpoint: There is no limit to the evil of occupation

Observers: 
Hanna Barag, Translation: Naomi Gal
03/07/2017
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Morning
 After passing the checkpoint on the way to work in Israel they stop to catch up on their sleep on the sidewalk until the shuttles arrive.
Photographer: 
Hanna Barag

04: 00-08: 15

 

The Best for Drudgery

A lot of workers who already passed the checkpoint on the Palestinian side catch up on their sleep on the sidewalks until the shuttles to work will arrive at seven in the morning. It is summer and hot so they lie right on the sidewalk on a lunch bag as a pillow. The sight and its meaning is SHOKING!  In the winter, we saw them in sleeping bags. Many buses and minibuses are already standing in line in order to transport the workers.

In the very narrow entrance from the Palestinian checkpoint to the Israeli side – they set a checking and classifying post, manned by a woman officer and a soldier. They review documents and do an initial screening. "The Best for Drudgery..." Those approved make a dash and cross the "sterileinfo-icon" area, which is a large parking lot and enter the sleeves on the way to the checking window, the magnometer (metal detector). Belts in hand, anything that beeps is already in the other hand and they push each other! After going through the metal detector, they continue to the last checking windows.  Finger, magnetic card, a document and they pass!

All windows were open and the lines on the Israeli side were not long. The passage is rapid - unless one finger is causing trouble and then everyone is waiting, maybe the finger would change its mind. The soldiers are willing to try and check the man also by the number of his identity card or alternatively they send him to another line. My observing helped to hasten the passage.

Outside the checkpoint, those who do not sleep are “having fun”: they drink coffee, meet friends, exchange tips and addresses. To the “innocent” observer it seems as if everyone accepted the humiliation, the facts of life under occupation (remember how many years?). When talking to us the anger, humiliation, despair and helplessness can be heard.

I was not a at the checkpoint in a normal working day for some time now. One of my acquaintances came up to me and said with apparent joy: "Oh, I thought you went to your grave - how good to see you here." A special way to begin this hot day, literally!