Makkabim (Beit Sira), Ni'lin (Qiryat Sefer)

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Miriam Shayush, Ronit Dahan-Ramati (reporting). Translator: Charles K.




We reached the Ni’ilin checkpoint at approximately 05:30.  We drove through and parked just beyond by the roadside.  We crossed the road and stood where people jump over the guardrail and walk down the dirt path toward the checkpoint.  Food stands wait beyond the guardrail, and also down below on the road from Ni’ilin.  The lines seem orderly today and there’s no unusual congestion.  We selected people to time how long it takes them to go through.

The vehicle checkpoint is very crowded because only one lane is open.  There are usually two lanes, the right-hand one for heavy vehicles, directed there for inspection by the explosives detector.  Other vehicles take the left-hand lane.  Only one lane is open today so all the vehicles must use it and a long line forms.  Beyond the crossing is the usual Sunday disorder.  Many vehicles around the plaza, along the road and in the parking lot, primarily buses and minibusses transporting workers to their places of employment, though today seems slightly less congested than usual.

On our way to the exit, people told us that the situation today was reasonable.  One of the people we followed came through in 22 minutes.  The other took almost half an hour.  We met our acquaintance, H., on our way to the car, who we hadn’t seen for a while.  First came our holidays, then he was busy with the olive harvest so he didn’t go to work in Israel.  Now the harvest is over and he’s working in Israel again.

Beit Sira checkpoint

We returned to the vehicles and drove toward the Beit Sira checkpoint.  We parked on the side of the road to Modi’in and walked down.  It was just past 06:30.  Many cars along the road, some double-parked, waiting for workers, and many workers waiting for their rides.  People approach us with the usual complaint that this checkpoint doesn’t open on Friday and they’re forced to travel to Ni’ilin.  We picked someone to time passage here as well, one who came from the direct of Safa and Beit ‘Ur al-That.  In the parking lot we ran into Aharon, the checkpoint manager.  He’s attentive and pleasant as usual, but says again there’s no possibility that the checkpoint will open on Fridays.  Only half as many workers go through as on other days, so it “doesn’t pay” to open.  We walked toward the exit.  The man we timed took about ten minutes to go through.

We left.