Jalama Checkpoint: Inconvenient "improvements" and humiliating checks.

Ruthi T. and Mariana B. Translated by Marcia B.

15:00 – 16:10

Personal matters limited us to observing one checkpoint which we rarely visit:  Jalama Checkpoint. As we know, this is the checkpoint that is situated on the Green Line and can be thought of as the actual border crossing, if we could cross it with a passport and Palestinian officials would stamp us from the other side. In the meantime, it serves as a passage for thousands of workers from the West Bank to Israel and back and as the vehicle passage to Israeli Arabs only, despite the strict warning to Israelis entering dangerous Area A. (In no place is it noted that the entrance to Jews is not allowed, heaven forbid!)

The view of the checkpoint has changed a lot lately.  The old parking lot serves only as a passage for checkpoint workers to their parking lot, which is close to the terminal.  Already it is impossible to cross it on the way to the bus parking lot.  Just like the Barta’a Checkpoint, workers have to go around and around the very long covered sleeveinfo-icon (the enclosed passage to the terminal).  In conversation with the guards, they told us that this was done for the safety of the workers who were sometimes injured by cars in the small, crowded parking lot.

New lavatories for men and women were built along with a new cafeteria that faces the large parking lot. The shaded area that serves as a waiting area is no longer approachable to those who cross the checkpoint.  It is separated from the sleeve by a locked gate.  We stood next to it and tried to exchange some words with the workers who hurried home in the oppressive heat.  Someone carried a roll of synthetic grass on his shoulders.

An older woman stopped to complain about the humiliating check that she experiences every morning:  “hayik, hayik, hayik” ( “so, so, so”) she demonstrated to us, as if they still did not recognize her.