Privately Run Checkpoint Stops Palestinians with ‘Too Much Food’

This is just ridiculous. One more humiliation for Palestinians, one more embarrassment for Jewish identity, which, by the way, justifies Jewish attachment to the land of Israel through a religion that completely outlaws withholding food or wages from workers. It is even forbidden to withhold food from working animals. It is time for Israel to live up to the past of Jewish ethics. I invite anyone reading this to join Mahsom Watch for just two weeks to find out that this is not about security or saving lives. Israel and its supporters must change, and it is hearing that now from the whole world, including the American Congress. This is slow but inevitable, so why prolong the humiliation of all of this?

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Privately run checkpoint stops Palestinians with ‘too much food’
By Amira Hass

A West Bank checkpoint managed by a private security company is not allowing Palestinians to pass through with large water bottles and some food items, Haaretz has learned. The checkpoint, Sha’ar Efraim, is south of Tul Karm, and is managed for the Defense Ministry by the private security company Modi’in Ezrahi. The company stops Palestinian workers from passing through the checkpoint with the following items: Large bottles of frozen water, large bottles of soft drinks, home-cooked food, coffee, tea and the spice zaatar. The security company also dictates the quantity of items allowed: Five pitas, one container of hummus and canned tuna, one small bottle or can of beverage, one or two slices of cheese, a few spoonfuls of sugar, and 5 to 10 olives. Workers are also not allowed to carry cooking utensils and work tools.

MachsomWatch discovered the policy, which Palestinian workers confirmed to Haaretz.

The Defense Ministry stated in response that non-commercial quantities of food were not being limited. It made no reference to the issue of water.

MachsomWatch told Haaretz that Sunday, a 32-year-old construction worker from Tul Karm, who is employed in Hadera, was not allowed to carry his lunch bag through the checkpoint. The bag contained six pitas, 2 cans of cream cheese, one kilogram of sugar in a plastic bag, and a salad, also in a plastic bag.

The typical Palestinian laborer in Israel has a 12-hour workday, including travel time and checkpoint delays. Many leave home as early as 2 A.M. in order to wait in line at the checkpoint; tardiness to work often results in immediate dismissal. Workers return home around 5 P.M. The wait at the checkpoint can take one to two hours in each direction, if not longer.

The food quantities allowed by Modi’in Ezrahi do not meet the daily dietary needs of the workers, and they prefer not to buy food at the considerably more expensive Israeli stores.

Read more here.

© Marc Gopin

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