The northern checkpoints: starve or pass

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Telephone report Shuli Bar

Work = money = food = life


I called my friends who live in the occupied territories to wish them Ramadan kareem and ask how they are. They were glad and thrilled to know that we care, that we miss them. With all the difficulty of the present situation and perhaps because of it, we are helped by black humor and cynical comments about their folk and ours.

Who said there is no partner on the “other” side?


Here is some of what I heard:

A.: The economic situation is most difficult, you know. But if you have a job in Israel, will you sit at home and wait for a year or two until the checkpoints are opened? So you cross illegally. The main thing is to work. People are no longer frightened. We are tired of being scared. If we don’t work, we’ll starve. On the other side are Jewish contractors who will do everything to get Palestinian workers. Without these workers, they too will starve…


H.: How do cross? You can. Several days ago, in the middle of the night, soldiers came to the Tayibe-Roumana Checkpoint, an agricultural checkpoint opposite Umm Al Fahm (Israel) closed even before October 7th. They opened the gate and left for a few hours. Somehow people found about it. Perhaps the Palestinian DCO notified people. By word of mouth. Many came and crossed. They walked to Umm Al Fahm (10 minutes) and in the morning Israeli contractors picked them up.

For whom was it worthwhile, opening the checkpoint in the middle of the night?


Ladders and ropes

A’: The game is on ever since the checkpoints closed down even before the war in Gaza. In the wee hours of the night, people from the West Bank climb up the ladder over the high Separation Wall and slide down the rope on its other side. Transports take up from there.  Every worker pays twice - 100-150 shekel to whoever supplies a ladder and a rope, and the same sum for whoever drives them further on.

This game takes place in spite of the army’s patrols along the wall.


Who profits from the occupation? (We have been reporting this for years)

  • Contractors of workers from the West Bank, Jewish drivers, construction and farming contractors from Israel, etc. Everyone works in transporting manpower from the West Bank into Israel.
  • Whoever is placed in senior positions in the privatized (non-army) checkpoints, and the army personnel present there. These are usually the entry points into Israel. They have the authority to pass through uninspected trucks with goods (cigarettes, construction materials, food) from the West Bank into Israel (several times a day) and back.

The money changing hands there from Palestinians to Israelis amounts to thousands, even tens of thousands of shekels.

  • The State of Israel profits from this situation, interested in weakening the occupied population by backing up and encouraging the chaos among West Bank inhabitants. The Ministry of Defense, Civil Administration and army know exactly where the illegals cross and how. Indifference and deep, complicated corruption are involved, and there is no power that would or could solve them.


As for Ramadan 2024 -

Permitted to pray at Al Aqsa Mosque are men over 60, women over 50, and children up to the age of 14. There are special transports, and their price depends on the distance from Jerusalem. The range is 60-100 shekels per person.