Not only is it extremely visible, with some very imaginative graffiti, including some by the famous graffiti artist Banksy, it also dominates the lives of many of those who have to travel the few miles towards
Thousands of men and some women start queuing at every morning in order to be able to get through the checkpoint in the barrier to get to work. They stand (or sometimes sleep) in the caged walkway along the wall. The gate sometimes opens at 04:00, sometimes at 05:00, but the workers cannot be certain how long it will take to get through and so arrive early just to be on the safe side. Keeping their job is very important when so many Palestinians are unemployed. They pass through a series of airport-style security checks where permits, belongings and finger-prints are checked every day.
The Ecumenical Accompaniers are there watching the checkpoint shortly after every day, and today was no exception. We met Susan Palmai from
Amin is also at the checkpoint early every morning, but for him it is to sell coffee to the waiting people. He is the only member of an extended family with regular employment and somehow he manages to earn enough to support his elderly parents, his wife and children as well as a disabled brother and sister who has been abandoned by her husband. His story is not unusual and explains why so many are willing to cope with the indignity of the daily checkpoint in order to keep their job.