Brilliant Jalama checkpoint

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Marine B. and Ruthi T. (Photographs) Marcia L., Translation

We decided this time to observe Jalama Checkpoint.  We arrived at 2:30 p.m.   We entered by foot to what was once the noisy parking lot that has since been moved to the other side of the channel.  Today it is “sterileinfo-icon,” according to what we learned from Maor, a security guard who hurried to get us out of there and send us to visit IDF bases in the area. After we informed him that we also have a connection with the non-profit organization,  “On the Way to Recovery,” he gave in and allowed us to walk the length of the sleeveinfo-icon (the enclosed passage to the terminal) to the first turnstile.  He also reminded us that the opening hours of the checkpoint were from 4:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. for pedestrians and from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. for cars (of Israeli Arabs).


Along the length of the sleeve, we met many workers.  Some of them returned with bunches of bananas and gave each of us five bananas.  We heard from them that recently, there is no problem getting permits to work in Israel.  A group of smiling workers from Nablus returned from work pruning vines around Majdal Shams.  They hurried to lavatories after a long drive.  They were apparently accompanied by the work supervisor who said that their employer was a contractor from Akko.  After a deduction of NIS 30 for the ride, they earned NIS 140-150 a day. Obviously, on rainy days, there is no work.  They leave their homes at 2 a.m. and return after 5 p.m.


After we said goodbye, we turned to face the wonderfully shiny checkpoint. A cleaning worker polished the asphalt, and a gardener pruned the bushes a la the gardens of Versailles. When we turned the worker’s attention to dirt next to the sleeve, he dismissed us with “that’s theirs.”


A lot of cars returning from the West Bank waited in a line to cross over the checkpoint.  Some of them were sent for inspection.  In the distance, behind the line of cars, we could see the separation wall and behind it the roofs of the village al-Jalama.  Four young females were brought by the police to the gate of the sleeve.  We didn’t have enough time to find out the reasons why they were brought here.


At 3:50 p.m., in the large parking lot, many workers got off buses of various companies.