Death by Checkpoint.

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.

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One thought on “Death by Checkpoint.

  1. So true, Zoe. Little space for humanity, and yet as you know there is so much humanity shown among the Palestinian people. The very last words of the coffee shop owner at the suk that our teams frequented e continue to echo as I read about this death. He said, please get the international and Israeli peace advocate organizations engaged in seeing what is happening at this checkpoint. In particular, the ongoing, long, supposed construction that has made things even more impossible as people try to cross through reduced turnstiles, narrow spaces between deep ditches (when I was there in the day light, I realized how impossible it was to walk through the narrow space from the suk to the checkpoint, even in the light and with no people! so I marveled at how the thousands got through in the dark, especially in wet weather when mud is slick)..and that is before even get into the line for checkpoint or begin the obnoxious process of going through the checkpoint. Of the four checkpoints, I was able to monitor while in the West Bank, this checkpoint was considerably more ugly…not that any are okay…but the degradation of humanity is so stark at At-Tayba as you say. Thanks for sharing from the West Bank and East Jerusalem in these difficult days.

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