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The morning commute – checkpoint style

March 12, 2013

I used to hate driving to work. Sometimes, when I got up late or was slack, or stopped for acheckpoint_bettern extra coffee to “get me started” I would have to drive fifteen minutes through Orange and stress about being late or traffic at the roundabouts.

This morning we got up 4.30am to see what the line looks like to go through the wall at the checkpoint in Bethlehem. This is the main wall into Jerusalem and the Israeli Army has total control. People get to the line, sometimes before 230 am to make sure they get to work on time. They have to line up up a ramp that is enclosed. When you stand on the outside and look in, it’s like looking at animals in a cage. They’re humanity stripped and their Being commodified and turned purely into an economic asset.

There is a line for “tourists” and humanitarian workers. Women, whom the Arab men respect too much to have stand in the line and cage with checkpointthem are also allowed to use the tourist line. But today as we watched, the Israeli Defence Force shut the shorter line down without giving any reason. Humanitarian workers can be seen climbing into the cages to cut the line, usually with support of the people who have been standing there for over an hour, but sometimes with understandable tension, the men get upset and call out, the tension in the air rises. I’ve been told though, there is never any violence. To the Palestinians, this is just another day.

When you speak to them they tell you that they are the lucky ones. Though the days are long and they are humiliated most days and have long waits, they have work that on average pays 4 times as much as work in the Palestinian Territories. To get that work, they have to be over 30, married with kids and have no black listing- that is they never spent a day in an Israeli prison.

RemiWe met a friend of Ron’s, Remi. When he was 18, Mother_mary_weepsthe Israeli Army came onto his land and destroyed their olive tree crop. Remi got angry and threw stones at an Israeli Army jeep. He was taken and held in solitary confinement for 12 months. Now, Remi will never get work in Israel and his future is uncertain.

Next time the bus is fifteen minutes late, I will not complain…




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  1. Thank you Greg, I appreciate your daily experinces very much! 2004 I went with Eappi for three months to Hebron. 2007 I came for the same organization to Bethlehem. There were no line for women and tourists at that time, we had to walk beside the men and climb over them. The first morning was terrible and I couldn´t held my tears back when I came up to the booth and no one could see me. I cried and cried! It is so humiliating! I stayed in Bethlehem with Eappi for 6 months and I never get used to it. It´s a hell for the Palestinians.
    2010 I joined CPT, left the team one months ago. I am looking forward to your next blogg.
    Give a big hug to Bob!

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