Hashmonaim (Ni'ilin), Makkabim (Beit Sira)

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

A day of disappearances

Ni’ilin (Hashmona’im)

We arrived at approximately 05:35.  We drove through the checkpoint and parked by the roadside just beyond.  We crossed the road and stood beside the place where people jump over the safety railing and walk down the dirt path to the checkpoint.  Food stands await them on the other side and also below on the road from Ni’ilin.

It’s still dark at this hour and a full moon slowly sets.  At first glance, there seemed to have been great disorder at the entrance to the checkpoint building, but we realized all was in order; the lines weren’t very long and advanced at a reasonable rate.  We chose a person to time and returned to the cars.

The inspector at the vehicle crossing already knows who we are and today doesn’t bother to carefully inspect the cars.  The usual tumult on the Israeli side.  Many vehicles in the plaza, along the road and in the parking lot, mostly buses and minibuses transporting workers to their jobs.  We moved toward the checkpoint exit.  We saw a large lighting pole being erected at the edge of the parking lot.  Next time we might be able to see what’s going on even before dawn breaks.

The bathrooms are open.  We waited about half an hour and didn’t see “our” man emerge.  He may have been detained for some reason, or we might have missed him, because most of the time people exited in a steady flow.  We saw they’d stopped the crossing briefly, and those who’d gone through inspection were left waiting outside the checkpoint building, in front of the final revolving gate on the Israeli side.  Two security guards came out; they seemed to be looking for someone whom they didn’t find.  Soon the loudspeakers announced “Back to work” and the revolving gatesinfo-icon began turning again.  It was already light when we left.

Beit Sira

We returned to the cars and drove toward the Beit Sira (Maccabim) checkpoint.  We parked by the roadside facing Modi’in, and got out.  It was almost 06:30.  Many cars along the road, some double-parked, waiting for the workers, and many workers waiting for their rides.  Here too we chose someone to follow who came from the direction of Safa and Beit ‘Ur al-Taht and to whom we’d spoken on his way to the checkpoint.  He was relatively older and complained that it takes a long time to go through.  In retrospect we think he may have been assigned to what’s called the “interrogation category” and is therefore delayed at the checkpoint.  We waited 25 minutes but he didn’t come through.  Someone who’d entered after him came through in five minutes. 

We left relatively late, around 07:00.