Eyal Crossing, Eliyahu Crossing, Qalqiliya, Sun 16.8.09, Afternoon
Only a few days remain before Ramadan, a month full of blessings and rewards for Muslims. To prepare to reap the fruits of Ramadan one can well imagine the Occupier going ahead to ensure that life for Palestinians is the exact opposite of charity, patience and mercy. In fact, already this week, we saw evidence of closed, as opposed to open, minds -- and a pointer that the month ahead will be a long and difficult one in the OPT .
Not one worker seen going back from work, but it's early as we make our way up to Zufim and on to:
Here there are two soldiers atop the lookout tower, but traffic flows smoothly in both directions into and out of Qalqiliya.
On our way out of the OPT, we are not asked for our IDs, merely asked to open the car's trunk; then the back of the car is thoroughly searched, and eggs are spied on the back seat, as well as two plastic shopping bags. "What you got there?" asks the soldier. Maybe the IDF have become agricultural or customs inspectors and Palestine has become an independent entity in the hours since we left home? The soldier demands to know what's inside the plastic bags, how many eggs we have, and whether we intend to sell them (all 30 of them). This altercation is a mere annoyance for us, but we put ourselves in the shoes of our fellow citizens, who happen to be Palestinian, and who happen to enjoy shopping in Qalqiliya or other Palestinian locales. They are made to suffer abuse and questioning that hardly befits the "security" of the State.
We have picked up a young woman and a few of her six young sons en route from their nearby village to visit her sister in Ras Atiya. At the agricultural gate/checkpoint which we have crossed, in the car, without problems in the past, we're told, "No way can you cross. What, to the Arab side?" We stand in the middle of the separation barrier and want to turn the car around, but there's a soldier in front of the car, "Well, you don't care for soldiers in any case, do you?" is the unbelievable retort of the on-duty commander.
All in all, one can see that the IDF is gearing up for Ramadan, a month that is the exact opposite of charity, patience and mercy.