Hashmonaim (Ni'ilin), Makkabim (Beit Sira)
Miriam Shayish, Ronit Dahan-Ramati (reporting)
At approximately 05:35 we arrived at the Na’alin CP, also named “Hashmona’im Passage”. We crossed the CP and parked on the roadside, a bit after it. We crossed the road and stood near the point where people jump over the security fence and then go by the dirt road in the direction of the checkpoint. Beyond the security fence food stalls await them, as well as below, on the road coming from Na’alin. Children handle the gas canister, light the fire under an oil basin where they will fry falafel balls. The queue extends from the checkpoint building, splits in two and almost reaches the yellow bar which blocks the entrance from the direction of Na’alin. We picked some people, dressed conspicuously, to check how long it would take them to pass, and returned to the vehicles.
The young woman who does the checking at the vehicle barrier already knows who we are. A thorough check of the vehicle, with gloves on her hands, and then we were allowed to pass and we parked at the Israeli side. The tumult is enormous. There are many cars around the square and in the parking lot, mostly buses and minibuses that take workers to their workplaces. We advanced in the direction of the exit from the CP. The toilet booth is open. People are leaving in a constant flow. The kiosk is open. Two young men offered us tea cups they had bought. We thanked them but didn’t take the tea. One of “our” people passed after 22 minutes. For another it took almost half an hour. It was already after 6 o’clock when we came back to the cars.
Beit Sira CP
We went back to the cars and drove in the direction of the Beit Sira (Maccabim) CP. We parked alongside the road, in the direction of Modi’in, and left the cars. It was nearly 06:15. There were many cars along the road, some double-parked, waiting for workers, and many workers waiting for their transportation. One person complained to us that this checkpoint doesn't open on Fridays, and they are obliged to go to the Na’alin CP. We have already enquired about this in the past, and were told that there was no intention of opening this CP on Fridays, due to budgetary reasons. The man of course wasn’t happy to hear that and turned to one of the drivers waiting in the cars. ”You, the contractors, must demand that they open on Friday”, he tells him.
Here too we picked a man in a conspicuous clothing who came from the direction of Saffa U’r Alhtachta. We waited for over half an hour – which is long for this checkpoint, and the man didn’t arrive. Others came out and complained about today’s load and slowness. They also complained about the fact that this checkpoint is closed on Fridays. One man explained to us that although on the Israeli roads it takes less than 10 minutes to reach the Na’alin CP from here, driving through the villages in the West Bank in the morning takes about an hour.
A man who is a relative of one of the boys who has been wounded in the erroneous shooting by the IDF forces on road 443 during the Ramadan (an event during which an innocent boy was killed). Now the wounded boy and his family members have become "prevented" persons by the Security Forces. Hanna Brag is already trying to help the boy and his parents to obtain a permit to get to the Hadassa hospital for inspection. Now the father wants help for lifting the prevention and for getting his permit back. We told to him what documents were needed, but were also forced to tell him the the chances were scarce.
Later the father contacted me. It seems that two of his sons were wounded. They are doing better, but now the livelihood of the family has been taken away. I again had to tell him that his chances were scarce. He is now considered a security risk, due to the concern that he would wish to take revenge for his sons’ injuries. The man finds it difficult to accept this and tries to say that he is not angry, that his sons are already better and all he wants is to make a living. They did not arrive at the Hadassa hospital for their appointment. We arranged a new appointment and hope that with Hanna’s help they will this time succeed in getting a permit.
We despaired of waiting for “our man” and left at 07:00.