Sansana (Meitar Crossing), South Hebron Hills

Yehudit K (reporting), Mohammad D

We decided an early shift in order to follow the long journey of labourers on their way to work in Israel.  We crossed the  empty Meitar checkpoint in the twilight, but already there were people from neighbouring villages arriving to mark their places in the queue.  At 05.00 am Route 60 is less hysterical than usual. At every exit from the villages there is a staffed checkpoint and everyone passing is stopped and checked, including cars of course. In spite of the freezing cold most of the workers come with a coat, or with only  a light jacket in order to avoid being suspected of concealing a weapon. Some bring a small plastic bag with food, others not even that.  We drove as far as Halhul, and noted that the further we travelled from the border with Israel the attitude of the soldiers worsened especially towards pedestrians leaving the villages. Those lucky enough to have a ride may be asked to get out of the car to be individually checked while in other cases only the driver and the vehicle are examined. In any case, all the workers leave their rides at the main highway and wait there either for transportation by their Israel employers or for chance rides to the checkpoint.  It is very hard to watch this wave of humanity in the early hours (although 05.00 is late by their standards), tired, hopeless and oppressed, all this before they reach the  Meitar checkpoint, the crowding, the humiliation even before they get to work for another day of backbreaking labour.  They asked not to be photographed.