Hashmonaim (Ni'ilin), Makkabim (Beit Sira)
We arrived at about 05:35. We drove through the checkpoint and parked just beyond, by the roadside. We crossed the road and stood where people hop over the guard rail and walk down the path to the checkpoint. There are food stands on the other side of the guard rail. There are stands also down below, on the road from Ni’ilin. The food sellers no longer wear the fluorescent vests they wore last time.
The line stretches from the checkpoint building to the yellow metal bar blocking the entry from Ni’ilin. People coming from the road go straight to the head of the line. The pace of entry to the checkpoint building seems reasonable and the line moves forward in an organized manner. We chose people wearing identifiable clothes to see how long it took them to get through, and returned to the cars.
The inspector at the vehicle checkpoint is somewhat surprised and checks our vehicle carefully before allowing us through. We parked on the Israeli side. Great tumult here, as usual. Many vehicles at the plaza, along the road and in the parking lot, mainly buses and minibuses transporting workers to their jobs. We moved toward the checkpoint exit. Along the way someone complains that it took a long time to cross today – an hour, he estimates. From our experience, we know it doesn’t usually take that long. Others said things were fine today.
The restrooms are open to the public. The kiosk is open. People exit in a steady stream. One of “ours” comes through after 18 minutes, a very reasonable length of time. We didn’t see the other one; perhaps we missed him or he’d been detained and not allowed through. We saw H., whom we usually talk to, before we left. He also says things were alright today. There are many people but inspections are conducted quickly. We left.
Beit Sira checkpoint
We returned to the cars and drove toward the Beit Sira (Macabbim) checkpoint. We parked by the roadside, toward Modi’in, and descended. It was almost 06:15. Many cars along the road, some double-parked, waiting for workers, and many workers waiting for their rides. We picked out a man here as well who was coming from Safa and Beit ‘Ur al-That. It took him about 4 minutes to cross.