Hashmonaim (Ni'ilin), Makkabim (Beit Sira)
It has been a month since we were last here. The open space at the entrance is now surrounded by a fence, with a gate on the east side and cement blocks on the south side bounding the area of the shades, the WCs and the kiosk. The space between them and the fence is just wide enough for a single person. We noticed a new structure. The security officer later clarified that these will be "sleeves" for passage.
The workers with whom we spoke reported that passage takes 15-20 minutes, and were satisfied with the CPs functioning. This contrasts with the Qalqilya and Tulkarm CPs, where the crowding is bad and the operators are inefficient. One worker from Salfit said he prefers to pass here.
Next to the kiosk, Hakem, from Lod, summoned us to complain about the absence of a sink and toilet in a place that serves thousands. Indeed one of the two toilet doors was locked, and instead of a sink there was just a hose. Shlomi the officer explained that the closed toilet is blocked and nobody comes to fix it because the fixtures have been ripped off several times. We insisted that a solution should be found. He promised to deal with it. We shall check.
07:00 -07:30 Makkabim CP
Again the main complaint is that the CP is closed on Fridays, making the trip long and expensive to the point that many give up on a day of work. We spoke with Aharon, the CP director, who said that even operating the CP at 50% capacity is expensive. It is a decision of the land-passage authority (ministry of security) in collaboration with the Civil Authority and the coordinator from the IDF. He suggested we write a letter to the authority.
We were joined by I.A., the transportation Authority officer in charge of transportation in the West Bank, who proudly pointed out the pedestrian bridge erected 6 months ago above route 443 (previously workers had been hurt crossing the highway), and the new 4th lane for vehicles opened a week ago to lighten the traffic