Identification Cards (ID)
The extent of the mess at Qalandiya became apparent to us only slowly. It seems that nothing was working properly. The new western facility for people arriving by bus had been opening and closing intermittently all day long, driving people crazy. As a result, the pressure of crowds in the old pedestrian passageways rose considerably but nothing was done to relieve it – on the contrary, the soldiers on duty continued to open and close passageways with no consideration for the numbers of people and the time spent waiting on line. At the end of our shift, as more and more people were returning from work and studies in Ramallah, there were only two passageways open, one of which was only for those who were not carrying bags and parcels. This constitutes clear discrimination against women who are always carrying something in their hands.
The CP was like an island in a sea of traffic jammed up in every conceivable direction. As a result, the buses from Ramallah have stopped trying to drive through the CP, they don't even come close (because then they would be caught in the jam), but discharge their passengers back up the line where they can still make a u-turn and beat a retreat. Consider what this means for the handicapped and for mothers with small children.
Later on we learned that there were changes in the traffic situation all over the area. On the road from Qalandiya to the city of A-Ram vehicles were stalled bumper to bumper because of roadwork. The 2-lane road connecting to "Highway" 60 has become one-way and one-lane, going west to east one-half the distance and east to west the other half. This must be somewhat confusing for anyone trying to get from "Highway" 60 to Ramallah – we still haven't figured out how it's done. Back in the northern square of Qalandiya, one of the vehicle lanes exiting northward has been blocked by concrete blocks. This forces cars going to Ramallah to travel east (out of their way) for about a kilometer where they reach a roundabout and join the traffic jam going north. In short, "balagan" hardly begins to describe the situation and no one seems to know when it will be solved.
16:15, Qalandiya: When we reached Qalandiya, there were two active passageways, when one was closed another was opened. The poor folks standing at the head of the line in the passageway that was closed were, of course, the last to reach the line that formed in the passageway that had opened and were forced to wait twice as long. Suddenly a new line was opened, but this, unfortunately, was exclusively for those who were not carrying bags or parcels, i.e. for a limited number of men only.
The situation at Qalandiya is difficult. Even our friend the coffee vendor has given up in despair and taken his stand to another CP. I hope he's making a better living there.
We went outside into the northern square to see what was happening in the new "bus" passageway. We found that the passageway was closed. The gatekeeper told us that for the last two days this passageway has been opened and closed intermittently, four or five times a day. Buses have stopped driving to the CP because of the long wait in the traffic jam. He told us that on Sunday morning (2.1.2011) the children arriving by bus had not been allowed through to get to school. They had been delayed at the CP for two hours. When they realized that they had missed their school day, they all returned home. Contrary to past practice, the children were not allowed to use the "Humanitarian Gateway" in the old part of the CP.
Traffic was jammed up in every direction. A taxi driver sitting in the jam swore by his children that he was waiting for 1.5 hours already. It was easy to believe him. Others told us that they had waited yesterday for 2 and even 3 hours in the traffic jams around Qalandiya.
17:00: There are two active passageways in the old CP. One of them is crowded with men women and children (about 50 in all) while the other is almost empty (this is the line for people without bags).
17:15: We left Qalandiya and were immediately swallowed by the traffic jam. When we reached A-Ram we found that the road had become a one-lane one-way track going east.
Mid-way to Adam Junction, this road became a one-lane one-way track going west. All those travelling to Jerusalem were diverted to a detour through the city of A-Ram that eventually rejoined the old road at Lil/Jabba CP.
Translator: Charles K.
06:00 Reihan checkpoint
The usual workers from the Shaked industrial area wait for their ride to work, others flow from the terminal to the upper parking lot where taxis await them. The area is full of life at this hour.
At the lower parking lot on the Palestinian side, taxis carrying passengers – most of them workers on their way to east Barta’a – come and go. T, the driver, arrives in a gleaming white car, proud of his recent acquisition: a 1983, but “drives like a dream.” He tells us about the new regulations on Palestinian roads – fines for speeding, for not wearing seatbelts, for talking on the phone while driving. The Palestinian Authority is making a lot of money from traffic violations. Two pickup trucks with agricultural produce wait for inspection; it will be conducted later.
06:40 Mavo Dothan checkpoint
On the way we pass Imreiha, the Bedouin village, and learn it contains three families, the largest of which is Abu Abed. Another is Turkman, some of whose members are taxi drivers at the Reihan checkpoint. Next to the Hermesh checkpoint, which is usually open, there’s a settlement of a small branch of the Turkman family which lives separately. Perhaps a village, perhaps just a Palestinian outpost.
We see dozens of school children on the road, on their way to the school in Yabed. They seldom come into contact with Jews, which may be why they respond to us hesitatingly.
The Dothan checkpoint is manned, but cars aren’t being allowed through yet. Supplies have come for the soldiers; the Palestinians wait from both directions until everything is unloaded from the army trucks to the building. The crossing is open day and night but is manned only part of the time, according to orders from higher up and specific circumstances.
07:30 Shaked (Tura) checkpoint (open, as of now, from 06:00 to 09:00)
The young pupils already crossed on their way to Tura from the seam zone – there are two mixed schools there (boys and girls together) – an elementary school with a kindergarten and a high school. Not like Yabed, where boys and girls learn separately. The teachers are now on their way to the seam zone. Those coming through the building report they had to wait a long time. We follow a group coming in our direction. People on their way to school wait 25 minutes. They tell us that the soldier in the building isn’t very adept and works slowly.
A mother arrives with her two daughters, who are younger than 16, without IDs, and it takes a long time to see whether they’re allowed to cross with their mother. Since the change in DCO staff we haven’t seen a DCO representative at the Tura checkpoint.
Translation: Bracha B.A.
When we arrived at 6:35, all the workers were already waiting for buses on the Israeli side. On the Palestinian side the stall owners told us that representatives from the Liaison and Coordination Administration arrived on Friday and have asked them to arrange a business license in order to run their stalls. They are currently in negotiations with them. One bus of prisoners' families is waiting at the checkpoint and another plus minibus pass us on our way to Hebron. On the way back, we passed through the checkpoint and met an injured Palestinian worker whose employer had brought him back from Ashkelon. His leg was in a cast and he was walking on crutches, trying to get back to his home in Dahariya. He told us that his employer gave him papers so that he could submit a claim to the National Insurance regarding the accident. We referred him to "Kav La-Oved" (Worker's Hotline). The cases in which Israeli employers take advantage of Palestinian workers who are injured or lose their ability to work are unknown to the public, and should be investigated and publicized.
There are signposts at the crossroads at Teneh Omarim, Eshkolot, Shama, Atniel, and Beit Hagai saying, "If you want a house with a green roof, peace and quiet – see the Hebron Hills Regional Council movement Amnah. It's time to go back to the roots ...." Or something of the kind. There is no mention of the fact that these places are settlements on confiscated Palestinian land and make a mockery of the two-state solution. There is little traffic on the road including military vehicles.
The Sheep Junction: a temporary checkpoint is set up. We stop to talk to the reservists manning the roadblock, and they say that it is unnecessary. Checks are done only randomly. One of the soldiers shows me a man's ID card that says he is a teacher, and explains that he let him go. Why is it necessary to harass people in the midst of Palestinian territory where there is only a little traffic going to Hebron?
On our way back we see a convoy of military jeeps going up the hill towards the new pillbox built above Deir Raza. There is still heavy equipment there. We have "conquered" yet another hill and turned it into a military base. Today we didn't see the balloon floating in the air above the hill.
The settlement on Antenna Hill overlooking Kiryat Arba is still expanding.
Palestinian farmers have plowed their small plots beneath the settlement of Givat Avot near the Hazon David Synagogue - this is (yet another) illegal outpost on Palestinian land that has not yet been dismanteled and removed. The Pharmacy Checkpoint: Soldiers from the Lavi Battalion are manning the checkpoint and checking every child, making them show ID cards or birth certificates, particularly boys aged 12-13. A peace activist there reports that there have been instances of harassment and humiliation. We talked to the soldiers until their commanders arrived, and they said that they are ordered to check border points, claiming this is that. "And don't argue about politics and tell me that this only increases hatred" one of them retorted. Even Ibrahim, the caretaker at the boys' school, says these soldiers really examine the birth certificates, and adds that any child who comes without a birth certificate is sent back home, even though they pass through there every day on their way to school. Ibrahim, the pita salesman, also complains about the three soldiers manning the checkpoint this morning. Their commander, a sergeant, arrives and forbids the other two to talk to us, and we recognize the syndrome of a lowly commander designating inflated authority. It seems that these orders are not a policy dictated from above. M, our driver, suggests talking with the upper echelons of the army and telling them about the conduct of the soldiers at the checkpoint. Ibrahim is discouraged and says "These are new troops." What a heartache.
Tel Romeida: Next to the checkpoint almost at the heart of the Arab neighborhood, there is a signpost on the road, directing to the Jewish cemetery and the Yishai neighborhood. Needless to say, Palestinian cars are not allowed to go there. The sign is evidence that only Jews are allowed to be here. No one else is delayed at the checkpoints.
We return by way of the worshipers' route. A child who left school tells us that the soldiers still enter his house occasionally (he is the son of Osma). There is nothing new in Hebron.
On our way back we decide to violate the law a bit and enter Dahariya to reach the Ramadin checkpoint and follow the route which the workers take to the Sansana checkpoint. At the entrance to Dahariya there is a Palestinian police checkpoint - they do not stop us and let us through. The fact that there are Palestinian checkpoints is ironic. At the former Ramadin checkpoint, two elaborate stands sell vegetables.
The journey through occupied territory ends.
07:00 am, Bethlehem - Checkpoint 300: four positions open, a line of some 20 people at each. About 400 people still wait outside; it takes a pretty long time to get through today. The Palestinians complain. The representative of the Ecumenical says the humanitarian crossing was closed for a while. Our complaint met with the usual response: staff shortages.
07:45 am, Nashshash: a large new poster at the traffic circle: “Confront those seeking destruction by establishing new localities.” Is this new?
08:00 am, Etzion DCL: they're handing out numbers, and even according to the Palestinians' list there are 60 people on line. The policeman will arrive only in the afternoon; one man is waiting for him. People complain they have to come again; last week they waited until 17:00 and left empty-handed.
08:50 am, Beit Ummar:
09:00 am, Nabi Yunis: a young man said he has no ID card. He was born in Jerusalem; his family's there. The Ministry of Interior, of course, won't issue him an ID card and the Palestinian Authority sends him to his place of birth, so a 28-year-old man is left with no identity nor possibility of working - nor is he the only one.
Translator: Charles K.
06:15 Tayba-Rummana checkpoint
On our way we passed the turn to the A’anin checkpoint, where those who already left A’anin for their lands in seam zone were gathered.
The Tayba-Rummana checkpoint gates are open. Border Police soldiers are there. One say they’re always there; if we’d seen soldiers, apparently the Border Police soldiers were called away to another mission.
Two tractors and three pedestrian go through. One of them says there will never be peace, because of Jerusalem. A Rummana resident says he has 15 dunums of olive trees in the seam zone; this is the first time he’s been granted an agricultural permit. He says residents of Rummana have a total of 200 dunums in the seam zone. Since they can’t take care of the groves on a continuing basis, cows enjoy the olives.
We enjoy a glorious sunrise.
06:30 The Border Police soldiers lock the checkpoint gates.
06:40 A’anin checkpoint
The checkpoint is still open. A man and wife are the last to go through. Children from the Bedouin village at the foot of the checkpoint on the seam zone side wait for their ride to school in Umm Reihan. Girls show us their textbooks for their Koran and English classes.
07:00 Shaked-Tura checkpoint
The checkpoint opens at 06:00 during the olive harvest, and by now the farmers have already gone through. Most now crossing are teachers and pupils. The sun that rose at the Tayba-Rummana checkpoint is blinding here.
An Umm Reihan resident says that he, his wife and children are registered as permanent residents of the seam zone, except for one son, aged 17, whose registered as a resident of A’anin. The reason might be that the son, like his other children, is a pupil at the school in A’anin. He says it’s better to go to school in A’anin, because the school there is connected to the electricity grid and they can use computers. The school in Umm Reihan, in the seam zone, is not connected to the electricity gird.
07:30 Reihan-Barta’a checkpoint
This time we observe the terminal entrance on the seam zone side. Those exiting say the terminal is full, and report that it takes people between 15 minute to an hour to go through.
In front of the vehicle checkpoint, on the seam zone side, seven loaded pickup truck wait for inspection. Passengers of a minibus get out to have their ID’s checked before continuing to the West Bank.
08:05 The charcoal manufactory is closed.
We visit the charcoal manufactory in the seam zone, opposite the southern entrance to East Barta’a. The manufactory is idle. We’re told that the army closed it because of complaints from the residents of Mitzpeh Ilan (a new locality, within the Green Line, on Route 611 leading from the Reihan-Barta’a checkpoint to Harish). He says the army closed all the charcoal manufactories in the Yabed (West Bank) area. While they may cause pollution, what right have we or the army to rob the exploited Palestinians of this livelihood as well?
.Translator: Charles K.
Years ago, Dahlia Ravikovitch wrote about Jerusalem:
“Hills are suspended from her neck
Like a wreath, a diadem
While her dust is pulverized by a massive stone
That growls like a young lion”
On the face of it, a morning like any other – when suddenly it becomes terrible, filled with grief. It begins with the lines and suffering of women standing and waiting at the closed gate, and ends with a terrible wall now rising at the entrance to the Shu’afat refugee camp.
06:20 Hundreds of people crowded into the Qalandiya waiting room. Long lines, desperate looks. The women’s gate hasn’t opened. Before it stand women, old people, youths and small children – some of them standing here waiting since 5 AM. The dedicated women of the church organization count those crossing, deeply frustrated by their passive role and inability to help. They repeatedly call the humanitarian office, which promises that a policeman is on the way. (Guess who). He arrives only an hour later. Until then only a single, bored female soldier sat in the glass booth, negligently controlling the passage of the hundreds waiting, creating an endless line.
Time passes and the lines persist – it takes forever to cross. Older people don’t have the strength today to stand up to younger people pushing into the line when the revolving gate opens, increasing their suffering and humiliation.
The tale of a revolving gate – sometimes they get stuck, break down or are out of order as a result of the crowding, sometimes for other reasons due to the evil that’s shut itself up inside the glass cube. At the height of the crowding and suffering, the revolving gate closest to the soldiers stopped working. They told us it broke down. People who had grown used to suffering told us that wasn’t true. They had already waited a long time for nothing – they’d simply had to stand wasting time, and now had to move to the next line and start over. Our colleagues tell us they’ve already witnessed similar harassing tricks, part of the repertoire of the soldiers and others operating the entrances and the revolving gates. About two hours later, when it had become less crowded, the revolving gate resumed operation, after it had been “seemingly” repaired. Thus can any teen-aged male or female soldier control the lives and health of thousands of adults, elderly and infants by simply throwing a switch.
After calls to the humanitarian office produced no results, we called Benny, the commander of the installation, at a quarter to seven.
In the line of women and infants were also elderly people supported by canes and young fathers with small children on the way to the hospital. The DCO representatives slowly begins checking documents and opening the gate. But how will the elderly man with a cane and the person accompanying him get past the people crowded around the revolving.
We must immortalize the children of Qalandiya while they still remain at their natural habitat, designed for them by their fate, so that we could look at them before they fall in the hands of those who lurk them during day time or break into their homes, in the dead of night. It's important that we speak of their violent and destructive childhood, concretize their existence even when they are rude, when they block roads making it difficult for those passing by, when they act like beggars or grab someone's clothes, we must look at their smile, whether it is from ear to ear of just hinted, and contemplate about their relative freedom in a place which is the law's no man's land.
They receive no regard from the 'National Council for the Well Being of the Child" and have no one to protect them from the offender. We can never know when and where we will meet them again: at the front line, the refugee camp by checkpoint fences, or behind the prison fences, where their smile will be wiped off by crude hands, where their souls and bodies might be harmed and their faith might be like that of A', who had received such "care" from his captures that he suffered from irreversible damage to his kidneys which rendered him disable for the rest of his life.
At the checkpoint:
The soldier at the front post had the top half of his body on the table before him, to the great pleasure of those passing he was fast asleep.
It seemed that the soldier in charge of inspecting the documentations was also sleepy, this made it hard for him to move his lips or tap his figure on the keyboard to insert identity numbers and utter that same old line: "Kolo-Shanti-Bi-Mehina…". His empty gaze hung on the shadows of the people passing before him and he hinted with his head with a nod which meant: "keep walking".
The Palestinians said: "today the soldiers were good".
We, on the other hand, don't think that it was the goodness of their hearts that got them to cut back on the usual harassments and delaying.
It appeared that our armed forces had a rough night and they used the afternoon to catch up on their sleep.
A testimony from a friend that had been detained at Huwwara checkpoint:
A friend, who was born at Nablus, made his way with his family during one of the Id-El-Idha days, to visit his family. His wife, who has an ID indicating she is a resident of Jerusalem, was driving their yellow plated family car. At Huwwara checkpoint she handed the soldier her ID. The soldier decided that the family wasn't allowed to head on: "you aren't Arabs" he said. Our friend intervened in the conversation, he handed his ID (a green one) and explained that he was a Palestinian from the Occupied Territories married to a Palestinian woman who is an Israeli resident, and he promised the soldier that he, his wife, and all three of their children who were seated in the back seat, were all Kosher Arabs.
The soldier wasn't convinced: "you speak Hebrew! You want to tell me that you are an Arab? Where do you live?" Our friend confirmed once again his Arab origins and added that he was from Beit Tzafafa. ''Where's that?" asked the soldier, "Near Gilo, in Jerusalem", replied our friend.
The soldier admitted he didn't know Jerusalem, not the neighborhoods that constitute it, nor its ID regime. He talked to one of the children who answered him in Hebrew, and then he happily declared: "you can't be Arabs!- the boy speaks Hebrew!"
"He studies Hebrew at schools", the father replied.
The facts confused the soldier who detained the family until the commanding officer arrived. Only once the officer made sure of the facts, was the family was permitted to head on.
The moral of our friend's testimony is that one must wonders again at this reality, and refuse to except the existence of that checkpoint and others like it- those that are separate between Palestinian territories.
Bethlehem - Checkpoint 300, 6:45 : most of the employers and their vehicles are already gone. Four windows are open and the traffic past them is sparse; our usual acquaintances report to us that ”Today is wonderful, and there are already almost no people at the beginning of the queue”.
Someone shows his work permit, is detained and the permit is confiscated. An officer from the district coordination office intervenes and tells the man to go to the office for an explanation. We are not given details and our guess is that perhaps the permit belongs to someone who is part of a chain of “fixers” (people who know how to “arrange” things in return for money – translator), who operate on both sides of the border – a form of co-existence which is the fruit of the occupation – and the man fell into their trap.
Etzion DCL 8:00 : the doors are open and about 20 people are waiting. No-one asks for our help, and they have all come to renew their magnetic cards. If they are lucky, they won’t have to devote an additional day to the matter.
In the guise of enforcing the law, justifying itself by claims of “security,” the Israeli regime prepares to take over Palestinian lands, dispossessing and expelling their owners, in order to implement its program for judaizing Jerusalem based on this principle: more territory – fewer people.
From the reports:
1. When we entered we saw many land expropriation notices posted on the bulletin boards in the waiting room. All the expropriation orders were written in Hebrew. (For full report click here)
The reality facing Palestinians in East Jerusalem after the separation wall has been completed is that they’re cut off from most of the West Bank and from family members on the other side.
These people, numbering in the tens of thousands, aren’t Israeli citizens. They’ve been annexed to form part of the “united city,” have been made permanent residents without civil rights or equality before the law, and can at any moment lose their conditional status with no advance notice by virtue of laws both old and new (such as the Citizenship Law), at the whim of the Minister of the Interior.
From a publication of B’Tselem: “Denying residency rights and social welfare benefits to Palestinians who have lived abroad for at least seven years or who are unable to prove that their ‘life is centered’ in Jerusalem.”
2. A kindergarten teacher who, like many in Azariyya, possessed a blue ID card and lost her Jerusalem residency rights because “she doesn’t live in Jerusalem,” but a few hundred meters from the municipal boundary that Israel drew. (For full report click here)
3. His forty-year-old son, who had returned some time ago from the United States where he had trained as a biologist and worked in his field for a number of years, was arrested in the afternoon at the checkpoint when he showed soldiers his blue ID card, his Jerusalem residency document. He was transferred to the base ay the rear of the checkpoint.
Before his cellphone was taken from him (according to the standard procedure) he managed to let his sister know what was happening. She contacted their father…who phoned the commander of the installation, who told him: He, the police officer, is required by law to turn the matter over to the Interior Ministry, and that until the process has been completed his son will be under the supervision and observation of the authorities, as if he had been a fleeing criminal. As the father described the jobs he’d held as a young man in order to make enough money to send his children to the best schools, his visage tightened and tears began filling the furrows of his face. Quickly, he wiped his cheeks with his hand, as if the tears had been an annoying mosquito bite and not the burst of emotion that overcame him upon learning that he’d have to part from his son who will be forced, because of the laws of the state that discriminate among people according to their origin, to seek his future abroad and be unable to settle in his homeland, his natural place, the center of his life. (For full report click here)
According to data published by Ir Amim, residents of East Jerusalem have the highest rate of municipal property tax payments in the city because of their constant fear of losing their (blue) residency document and eviction from their homes. The main advantage of that document is not, as many people think, the right to receive National Insurance Institute payments, but the freedom of movement it grants to those who hold it.
Even though they live within Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries and faithfully pay their taxes, they receive hardly any of the services that the municipality is obliged to provide the residents: school buildings in East Jerusalem are unfit to serve as educational institutions and the classrooms are unbearably crowded. That’s why everyone who can afford it sends their children to private schools.
There is no garbage collection in most of the Palestinian neighborhoods. Householders pile up the garbage and burn it at streetcorners. Choking black smoke rises from the garbage bins whose contents are always on fire.
4. Driving through Jabal Mukaber we wondered again at the refuse and neglect in this Jerusalem neighborhood, one for which the municipality is responsible. Garbage overflowing from the bins, filthy streets, the roads filled with potholes that make driving difficult.
Residents of the city’s Palestinian neighborhoods can’t obtain construction permits. Those wishing to build on land they own are usually told that the land has been zoned for parks and open space. Unable to obtain appropriate housing legally, the residents are forced to break the law. As families grow, the homes are enlarged and additional stories added to the houses. The Jerusalem municipality, in turn, issues demolition orders and evicts people from their homes.
The 1948 refugees who found alternative housing in place of the homes from which they’d been expelled, but who have no deed proving ownership, have met with similar treatment. Even though they’ve lived in the same house for decades and their children and grandchildren were born and raised there, they’re now being “legally” evicted for the second time in their life.
5. Three days after they were notified that they have a week to vacate their home, the police came, and after breaking open the front door threw all the furniture into the street. Soon it had disappeared. The family was left out in the street; they’ve been there for a few months.
6. Of the two additional families from Sheikh Jarah (near the Shepherd Hotel) who’d received eviction notices, one was an elderly widow who didn’t understand what they wanted from her, and who’d signed with her fingerprint a document which she’d been told would allow her to remain in her home. It turned out she’d agreed to an increase of hundreds of percent in the minimum rent she’d been paying Amidar for years, or else she’d be evicted.
It’s impossible to minimize the damage caused by the wall to people living in Jerusalem. The wall divides families, its construction requires expropriating and destroying agricultural land from which people made a living, and has placed densely populated neighborhoods beyond the city’s boundaries. Because of the wall, a trip that used to take a few minutes is now long and difficult.
7. Walaja: This morning, bulldozers uprooted eighty olive trees belonging to our friend, A., and other fruit trees – apricot, peach and walnut…One [peson]…lives in a house at the end of a road that will be completely closed off by the fence, and only a narrow corridor will allow him to reach the village. His children will grow up in a cage. When he complained he was told – This is a construction site; if you don’t like it, you can leave.
8. When we entered the village we again saw how close were the new single-family homes of Har Gilo to the fence separating them from the village, and the ongoing construction…
…He never imagined the day would come when he’d have to fact the fact that much of his land, including his parents’ graves, would remain on the other side of a fence, and that the erection of that fence would require uprooting his trees. We went to look at the construction and saw many trucks loaded with earth driving down the hill toward the checkpoint, clearing a wide path on which the wall will be built.
9. A woman with a Jerusalem ID, whose home adjoins the separation wall on the “wrong side,” told us about how she has to travel in order to make sure her children arrive on time at their school in the Old City: To get there by 8:00 she wakes them every day at 5:30 – before sunrise – and leaves the house at 6:00. (For full report click here)
The “permit regime,” newspeak for what in fact is the “prohibition regime,” finds expression in the points of contact between the Palestinians and the soldiers – the checkpoints. That’s where the prohibitions are applied in practice, where the individual’s life is arranged for him. One of the harsh expressions of this process is what’s known as a “temporary permit to remain for family reunification,” meaning that a married couple is sentenced to a life of permanent uncertainty if their ID cards aren’t the same color.
Amnesty International stated that the amendment to the Citizenship Law passed by the Knesset in July, 2003, is “a disgraceful racist blot legislated for demographic, not security, reasons.”
10. The forty-year-old man was angry and frustrated when he wasn’t permitted to go through the checkpoint. For more than a decade he’s lived with his family (his wife and five children) in Atarot on the basis of a temporary family unification permit that was routinely renewed each time it expired. Recently the authorities refused to renew the permit and his life was suddenly upended. (For full report click here)
11. A man with a green ID card (Occupied Territories) approaches us: his wife has a blue ID (Jerusalem). A few days ago, at Qalandiya, they confiscated his family reunification permit, without any explanation. They sent him to the Beit El police station. He went; he came back. Went. Came back. They finally gave him a document stating that he’s forbidden to enter Israel because of security reasons. If he wants more information, he has to go to the police station in the Russian Compound, Jerusalem. But how will he get there; he has no permit. He sent his wife to the Russian Compound. They told her: “Come back after the holidays; there’s no one here now.”
The route of the wall tears up and dissects the landscape as well as the urban fabric between Ramallah and East Jerusalem, divides families, and the law turns many people into illegal residents of their own homes and property.
12. A young man waited to enter the DCO office. He came out a few minutes later without having obtained what he wanted – a crossing permit. We asked what his story was. He said that he, his father, mother and sister have lived more than thirty years in Beit Hanina, in Jerusalem, but they have Palestinian ID cards so they need crossing permits to continue living in their home. He said that for the past four years they’ve been receiving permits valid for three or four months, and then they have to renew them. The problem is that it usually takes a month from the date the permit expires to when it’s renewed, and during this time he, as the sole breadwinner, has to sneak over the border in order to return to his family. The other family members (father, mother and sister) hide at home, afraid to go out and be arrested. (For full report click here
They covered the earth with trees who’ve forgotten their owners because they no longer beget.
They concealed any signs of the house with strange colors – real flowers can’t grow there.
They sowed weeds in the fields where no human foot ever had trod – not before and not after.
They placed in the house new couples colored dazzling white.
And they said: now the scene will be much more enticing/
The amnesia enterprise
07:30 am, Beit 'Inun: this village has Road 60 running right through it. On its western part is the girls' school and nearby is the blockage. Several taxis were parked there awaiting passengers heading for Hebron. The distance between Road 60 and the blockage is about 30 meters and this is where vehicles could park. Last week we already noticed that a row of huge stones had been laid along the road, preventing the transfer of heavy loads in the back-to-back system.
Last year we counted some 550 people crossing the road between 7 to 8 am, mostly girl students, age 6 and over, walking from home (east) to school (west Bet 'Innun), also boys in the opposite directions and many others. The traffic on Road 60 is heavy and wild. My complaints, to a group of soldiers parked there, regarding the lack of a pedestrian crossing caused little concern…
08:10 am, Etzion DCL: some 60 Palestinians were seated in the waiting hall and were received according to a list they had compiled. We were told that the police representative was absent. People had been waiting at the police post since 9AM. At 11:30 the police officer still hadn't shown up - until I phoned him and he began attending to requests.
08:30 am, Beit Ummar: people approached me seeking advice regarding police issues.
09:00 am, Nabi Yunis: same sort of queries – regarding police matters. A youth from Tarqumiya asked us to fetch his identification card for him: having been detained in the Russian Compound, he was released at Ma'aleh Edomim without it! (Nor does he have any confirmation thereof).
Similarly, last week Michal Z. had succeeded in extracting an identification card from 'Ohole Kedar prison (near Beer-Sheba) for a youth from Yatta. When he and three others had been released, they were provided with a bag containing belongings, minus the card.