First actual shift at the southern checkpoints since the outbreak of the Corona-virus crisis

Observers: 
Hagit Bak, translated by Tal H.
May-7-2020
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Afternoon
אנשים צועדים לאורך גדר
שלט ברכה לטרקומיה

 

First actual shift at the southern checkpoints since the outbreak of the Corona-virus crisis

 

Meitar Checkpoint

We arrived at 13:00 but because of the Ramadan fast Palestinian workers had gone home earlier. Since Israel has been on its way out of its Corona closures, the Palestinian Authority agreed for the workers to return to the West Bank. Some of them have not been home for three weeks or more. In Israel they stay overnight at their workplaces under outrageous conditions, but putting food on the table for the family at home is most important for them. They got into Israel through the opening in the Fence that the army had opened because the checkpoints themselves were closed to Palestinian workers this whole time. Right now restrictions are lighter both on the Palestinian and the Israeli sides. This is why these workers have decided to return home, assuming that on Sunday they would be able to return to their work in Israel as usual.

Negohot Checkpoint

Negohot is an apartheid checkpoint – only Jewish Israeli citizens are allowed through. Palestinian citizens of Israel are required to use the Tarqumiyah or Meitar checkpoints. This is what friendly soldiers of the 9th Armored Battalion explained to us. Negohot is a settler-colony situated on three hills of privately-owned Palestinian land. About 150 families live there, and its access road connects road 358 to road 60. This road passes through the Palestinian village of Hursa, and that is why a pillbox post (watchtower) was placed there and its soldiers make village life impossible.

Tarqumiyah checkpoint

This checkpoint was nearly deserted, almost no one passed. The truck waiting in line were few in number, the DCO office was opened only two days a week and only from 4 a.m. until noon.

Today too, few workers use it. A Palestinian there tells us that during the holiday most of the restrictions were down and instructions regarding the pandemic are similar to those in Israel. School will be opened only after the Ramadan month. From Sunday on the DCO offices will return to “normal” activity, including masks and 6 ft. social distancing.

They were so glad to see us that we almost hugged…