Since 2001 we have observed dozens of army checkpoints on paved and unpaved roads in the West Bank, the Jordan Valley and along the Separation Fence; Civil Administration offices which grant permits to Palestinians; and military courts trying Palestinian prisoners. We stand at the checkpoints observing the behavior of soldiers and Palestinians without interfering, intervening only when soldiers behave offensively to Palestinians. Then we try to speak to the soldiers themselves or telephone...
Al Jib (Givat Zeev), Jaba (Lil), Qalandiya, Sun 20.5.12, Afternoon
Translating: Ruth Fleishman
The desolation, filth and stench had become part of the essence of the existential state that seems to have clung to the place and people.
While "Day of Jerusalem" was being celebrated on the other side of the walls, here, at the checkpoint and its surroundings that are considered part of "Greater Jerusalem", the daily routine was taking place as though in acceptance of reality, as if it were a predestination that couldn't be changed, without horizons and hope, because their years of experience have tough them that constant change has but one intention- to harm and to benefit.
It is difficult and impermissible to grow accustomed to the sight of an inspection preformed on a person exiting Palestine which entails humiliation and the loss of dignity.
The differences in heights between the inspectors in the fortified post, who see the person in front/ beneath them through bullet proof and opaque windows, and the person inspected who is forced to stretch his body and life his hand with the documents towards them, is of tens of centimeters. It's not only a difference in height, but an additional method to determine the hierarchy of the superior and the inferior, of the master and the servant.
A coincidence? A mistake or lack of attention to detail?- there is no doubt that this is intentional.
"Oh, you arrived through the red zone!", said the commander after hearing our replay to his question, how the hell did we arrive from the side from which Israelis aren't expected to come. Because the green line had been erased for years from the maps and adds, the red (=Palestine) and the blue (=Israel) have replaced it.
The choice of colours isn't coincidental. Red is associated with danger, blood and pain, while blue is associated with serenity.
At "Abu-Yunis's Café" a construction contractor told us about the conditions under which the laborers are employed, a daily wage of 120 to 150 Shekels: "it depends on the job the person preforms and whether or not he is a professional", and clarified that no social benefits of any other benefits are added to this sum, that the work permits for the settlements, unlike the permits that allow them to work in Israel (which are granted only to those over 35 who have families) are granted at the age of 25 and regardless of marital status.
Of course, it depends on the authorization of the GSS and their renewal every three months.
And another person spoke of his brother who after working for ten years ("and without any troubles") at a settlement on the other side of the wall, one morning two years ago, his permit had been taken from him and he was told that he was prevented passage by the GSS. Ever since he has been walking from office to office, knocking on doors, asking, requesting- nothing. "Even when he had to go through examinations at Mukased Hospital and asked for a one day permit- he didn't receive it".
A dog and its trainer were in the midst a van inspection. The driver was standing nearby. The inspection lasted several long minutes. The soldier led the dog with its leash and it sniffed around, inside and outside. After the dog had successfully completed the mission, once it had probably found the object hidden, it was taken away from the vehicle and received from its master a reward in a colourfulplastic bowl. And the driver, whose vehicle had been confiscated and then returned, kicked with anger and fury at the door before entering and then proceeded to drive.