Israel's military checkpoints: 'We live a life of injustice'

A photo essay by Activestills


The main checkpoint for Palestinians working in East Jerusalem and other central cities. It blocks the road between Bethlehem and Jerusalem.

It is estimated that 15,000 labourers cross through Checkpoint 300 daily.

I left home at 4am. Now it’s 6:20am. It will take another hour to cross the checkpoint. This is our life, difficult and full of problems.

- Anonymous

It starts to get crowded from 3:30am onwards. This is the way it is every day.

- Abed

If you fall on the ground you could die.

- Anonymous

I pay $700 every month for my work permit.

- Saleh


Located in the northwestern Palestinian city of Qalqilya, where unemployment is high due to Israel’s Separation Wall.

It is estimated that some 4,000 labourers from across the northern occupied West Bank cross through Eyal Checkpoint daily.

It’s faster to make money inside Israel. A year in Israel equals five years in the West Bank.

- Said

It's all unjust. We live a life of injustice, but we do not have an alternative.

- Saleh

The queues start growing at 3am. Some people cross to find work on the other side. If they do not find work, they come back.

- Abdulrazek


Located just south of the northern Palestinian city of Tulkarem.

It is estimated that up to 15,000 Palestinian workers pass through Taybeh Checkpoint daily.

In 2014, two Palestinian men were crushed to death due to extreme overcrowding at the checkpoint.

Everyone is trying to make a living by working on the Israeli side. They go there without being sure whether or not they will return to their families. God only knows. It’s a very big tragedy.

- Anonymous

The situation is hard when it comes to permits. There are people who trade in them. My son pays $500 a month for his permit - that's about a third of his salary. Other permits can cost up to $700 a month.

- Omar


Situated near the Palestinian town of Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank.

Between 7,000 and 8,000 Palestinian labourers cross Tarqumiya checkpoint daily.

In 1998, Israeli soldiers at the checkpoint opened fire at a bus carrying unarmed Palestinian labourers, killing three men.

During the time I've spent here, more than 20 workers have been injured at this checkpoint. Some had their arms and legs broken.

- Rabea

We leave our homes at 4am in order to leave the checkpoint by 6:30am or 7am. The situation here is not normal and it’s very crowded. People break their arms here on a daily basis.

– Jamal

There are a lot of people who can't make it to work on time. If you're not at work by 7 am, your employer will kick you out.

– Jamal

I come here on Sunday and go back home on Friday. I see my family for two days each week.

– Anonymous


The main crossing point between Ramallah and Jerusalem.

Due to its location between two major Palestinian centres of life, the checkpoint accounts for a third of all movement between the occupied West Bank and Israel, making it even more crowded for labourers.

It is estimated that at least 6,000 Palestinian workers cross Qalandia daily.

Who builds those [Israeli] settlements? The workers! And then we complain why Israel builds settlements. We - the labourers - are the ones building them, but there is no alternative. We are not doing it to build settlements, but if we don't work, we can’t live.

– Wajih

The work inside Israel is forced upon us. In the Palestinian sectors, the income is very low. Even when people are educated and have degrees, no one cares about them. There are no job opportunities for them, so they work anywhere they can.

– Wajih

I come here every day and the situation is the same. I arrive at 4 am. They [Israeli soldiers] tell us to 'wait a little' while they play on their phones.

– Nabeel