Har Adar Checkpoint - A Severe Terrorist Attack During the Shift

Eina Friedman and Hannah Barag

The Har Adar Checkpoint is located in the seamline zone and is only open to workers who work at Har Adar.  It is located at the edge of this Israeli community settlement and is near the Palestinian villages of Bidu, Beit Surik, and Katna.  The checkpoint opens at 06:30 and again at 14:00 and 16:00.  About 150 Palestinians cross here each day.  We asked to see people's work permits that, as expected, were on green background and stated that they were allowed to enter the seamline zone only.   Both workers and employers told us that this is a checkpoint without any problems.  One of the employers even spoke to us about his agenda regarding the checkpoint. 
The checkpoint has three gatesinfo-icon.  One is far away on the West Bank side and Palestinians park their cars in front of it.   A few meters in front of that point is another gate where permits are checked by the soldiers.  From there people walk forward to the turnstile where their employers wait for them.  This was where we were waiting as well.   

At about 07:15 most of the workers had already crossed and we were about to leave, but some of the workers began to talk with us.  Suddenly we heard shooting and we instinctively turned to see what was happening.  We saw two people fall on the road and another fell down after a minute or two.  The Palestinians were as confused and frightened as we were and asked us to call for help.  Eina called the police and I called the army, but this was unnecessary because the soldiers at the checkpoint were already in contact with the army.  A lot of ambulances, police, and special security forces quickly arrived together with the local security forces to deal with the two people who were killed and treat the injured person.   

The few workers who had not yet been picked up by their employers remained there together with us and everyone was just as shocked and confused as we were and no one knew exactly what had happened.  In a few minutes we were all asked to leave and as we left we saw one of the members of the security forces in tears.  He was extremely upset, and we heard that his friend had been killed.  We later heard the news report at 08:00 about what had happened: two Israeli security guards and a Border Police soldier were murdered by a Palestinian worker who pass this checkpoint regularly. He held a valid work permit and had passed the scrutiny of the authorities who issue permits.  The prevailing opinion is that people who hold precious work permits are unwilling to take chances of losing them by committing terrorist acts, and this has been proven by experience.  On the other hand, the random manner in which work permits are issued, the degrading process of obtaining and renewing them, and the limitations placed upon people evidently leave deep scars that result in tragedies such as this.

We were deeply saddened by the incident that is truly deplorable.    

This incident marks more bereaved families, more mourning, and more pain.  Until when will it continue?

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