On the morning of December 31st, 39 year old Ahmad Samih Bdeir was crushed to death while attempting to cross at Al-Tayba Checkpoint in order to get to work. This marks the second death of its kind at Al-Tayba in 2014.
While living in Jayyus, Al-Tayba was one of the checkpoints we monitored each Sunday. Between the hours of 4 and 6 AM our group would routinely count between 5 and 6 thousand men passing to go to work. As reported in Haaretz, “Palestinians with permits to work in Israel pass through metal turnstiles, then through metal detectors, then through inspection stations. The lines move very slowly, with workers often crowded into metal pens, unable to move in the crush of people.” Many of the workers have permits that are only valid during certain hours of the day. If a worker isn’t able to cross the checkpoint before their permit expires, then they won’t be able to get to work that day, causing panic and chaos in the line ups.
This past Sunday, about 5000 Palestinian workers at Al-Tayba refused to pass the checkpoint to get to work. A one day strike from their jobs in Israel, and a small demonstration against the conditions they experience 5 days a week.
There is very little space for humanity at a checkpoint.