Qalandiya, Sun 5.4.09, Afternoon
Nidal the short boy
"He isn't a boy, he's short", one of the many cart owners parking by the square in front of Qalandia checkpoint, explained to us.
- "Hurry over there, the soldiers took a boy", those heading back from a day of work hastened us and pointed towards the entrance of the military/police base at the back of the checkpoint.
We could see from a distance a boy dressed in red being brutally carried away towards the gate by a bunch of soldiers. It was as though the camera beat us there and started documenting all that happened.
When we stood before the "boy" in red, we saw he was bearded: he had a body of a child and the face of a boy in anguish.
- "He throw stones", said the soldiers.
- "No I didn't", Nidal mumbled, "I was working on the cart".
Nidal's hands were handcuffed behind his back. One soldier held him firmly by the shirt while another, who had a smile on his face as though he was about to perform a sacred ceremony, was ripping stripes of cloth to cover his eyes with.
The act of the tearing of the cloth seemed as though it was part of a religious ritual, during which all those present: the soldiers, the victim and us, knew what was coming a head. Perhaps it was because Nidal stood the whole time with his eyes closed, as though focusing on himself, that it seemed as though he knew that they would do as they please with him, they knew that they would do as they please with him, and knew it as well.
And the short boy was taken away into the base, behind the building, so that we and the camera won't be able to see how his eyes were being covered, so that no one would be able to see it.
After Nidal was taken into the base, surrounded by his captures, we spoke to his friends and brother who were at the parking lot of the carts. They told us that Nidal works as an assistant to a peddler, he carries the cart.
They also told us that when stones are thrown, the soldiers usually stand at the beginning of the refugee camp, and arrest one or two of the teenagers there, even if they had nothing to do with those throwing the stones.
- That is a safer strategy, and it is less tiring then chasing after the stone throwers in the allies or on the roofs. After all, the soldiers abide their orders, and therefore can't arrive back at the base empty handed, and who would even notice whether the boy is a Palestinian or not?
The younger peddler told us that they too had already been arrested several times, and also under false allegations, for something they didn't commit. They added that all they wanted to do was to but bread on their children's table.
- Just a quick glimpse at the close up to Nidal's hands is needed to assert that these hands couldn't have thrown stones.
Could any judge, strict as he might be, believe that such a right hand, which in the center of it is a deep and open wound, and that the small amount of skin that had remained around it is infected, could have thrown stones on the checkpoint?
"Yesterday day he didn't even make it to work, his hands were wounded", said the owner of the cart that Nidal carries. It was apparently the result of hard labor in which he had engaged in two day earlier.
" He might already be in Moscovia" (the prison at Migrash Ha'Rusim) - they said, and sounded as though they were well acquainted with the processes.
One thing is certain: This Passover will be "entirely of Matza" for short Nidal.
As they are very strict in prison that the inmates won't commit the sin of eating leavened food.
How will A' make it home?
For the last thirteen years A' and his family had been living in east Jerusalem on probation: He had been held hostage for the last thirteen year in the hand for the ministry of internal affairs and the GSS, for being a temporal redsident.
On October 2008 his temporal permit had expired again, so A', as always, hand in a request to prolong the permit. But this time the permit he didn't get a signature that allows him to get on with his fragile life. Instead of the permit he got a yellow paper that said that A' case was been taken care of, until they reached a decision.
Ever since A' had been presenting that paper before the soldiers, each time he passes the checkpoint on his way to work at Ramal, or back home to his family at east Jerusalem.
But on that day things changed. We met him only a couple of minutes after he had received notice that he won't be able to pass through the checkpoint. He was standing there with a lost look in his eyes.
Irit started making phone calls: The DCL said that they didn't handle cases that had to do with blue IDs. We then remembered that they only handled people with Palestinian IDs.- But who was supposed to deal with A's problem? The person on the phone suggested that he call the Humanitarian Center, and they responded by referring Irit to another hotline, who in their part told her to she needed to consult someone with a higher caliber. Superintendent Abu-Hazera, the commander of the checkpoint, who is known for his efficiency, sent A' to the inspection lane, and after his sent one of his men.
We accompanied A' to the lane. Doron, the police officer was already there, but he didn't understand why he was supposed to allow the passage of a person without a permit or an Israeli ID. Doron suggested that A' wait in the inner room until he got things straightened out. Irit stayed with him. After a long time of waiting, Doron came back and said there wasn't anything he could do, and that the Ministry of Internal Affairs said that he wasn't to allow A' to pass to Jerusalem.
The soldier in charge of inspection, that during the whole time Irit was there, behaved rudely to her, yelled at both of them: "Go away!, you go over there (she pointed to the left), and you, over there (to the right)".
No, that doesn't ring any bells.
Such phrases have already been deleted from our collective historical memory and no longer do they remind us of anything