A trip to see the workers’ terminals in the Jordan Rift Valley, Hamra and Tayasir. The workers are mainly residents of the northern West Bank, from Farun, Tamun, Tubas, and Tayasir. They work in the Jordan Valley settlements: Beka’ot, Ro’i, Tomer, Masu’a and Kalya.
The checkpoints open up for traffic at 4am, the workers wait here at least an hour before that (what kind of life is this, I think to myself, to wait every morning in the middle of the night on deserted roads. What kind of family life do they have?)
Total darkness. We ride along the Jordan Valley roads, (straight ahead at Za’atra junction, then left to Alon, all the way to Ma’aleh Ephraim, where at this time – 3:30am – is not manned except for a light at the inspection tower which probably attests for a guard, then left again to 508 and left on road 57, where the Hamra checkpoint is). At the roadblock we’re shocked at the ages of the workers. 17 to 20 year olds. Some even younger than that.
They get out of the vehicles (mainly buses or taxis), to be inspected separately at the vehicle inspection station, and cross the checkpoint by foot (first photo). All buckle their belts again after going through the inspection facility (second photo). Some stop at the side to pray. Then they go back on the cars on the other side of the checkpoint (third photo). Between 4:10am to 5am some 200 workers passed through.
Some workers brew coffee on the side of the road. They invite us to join them, happy to share it with us, but we’re worried we’ll arrive too late at Tayasir. When we got to Tayasir, at 5:30am the dawn was rising. Most of the workers had already gone through, we could see the taxis pass us by on road 5799, leading to the checkpoint. Here too, they get off the car, the vehicle is inspected separately, and they go through by foot (fourth photo). Hand bags are also inspected (fifth photo). In them, you’ll find breakfast and lunch for a day’s work.
By the time we returned to Hamra, around 6am, it was deserted again. Unbelievable that moments beforehand myriads of people went through.
For a Hebrew version of this post, click here.