Qalandiya, Sun 29.11.09, Afternoon

Ronny H' and Tamar F' (reporting and taking photos)Guest: Jonathan, Canadian student

                                                    Our 29th of November, their Id El Idha


"This is meant to humiliate us"- said an old man when taken off from the bus together with the other passengers.

It was difficult that afternoon  to refuse that claim, as well as that of an acquaintance of ours, who in a ton of acceptances said: "Its because we have a holiday".


Since it was a holiday, masses of people had arrived, dressed in their best clothes with the elderly and their children, whether in their privet cars of by public transportation, with intention to pass the checkpoint and visit their relatives.

Not only were there no relieves but the usual restriction were even more "restrictive":

  • - "The age reduction"- which on occasions allows the elderly and the children to pass the checkpoint while staying inside the bus- had been annulled.
  • - The vehicle owners that are allowed to pass with their car- were sniffed by a "civilian dog" guided by a civilian, overlooking all of them were the rifles of the civilian guards.

An armored police jeep was conducting in the square in front of the refugee camp, by the teenagers and peddlers, what is called in the IDF lingo: "violent patrol"- it drove round and round, making squeaking noises with the brakes and deafening sounds through the loudspeaker, it was clear that they sole purpose was to provoke the crowd. The whole time, the person sitting by the driver was aiming his rifle at who ever passed down his way- more longing to pull the trigger then fearing something might happen.

The vehicle kept driving in front of the shops, round the cramped line of cars waiting  in front of the checkpoint, until one teenager took up the gauntlet- his picked a stone and to the delight of the policemen, through it at the car.

Some guards standing behind the checkpoint fences also got the chance to enjoy themselves as they were watching a couple of young women folding up a babyinfo-icon's stroller, after all the gate that was destined to serve those with strollers is out of order.

On the other side, a truck driver from Kufer-Akeb was less than happy, when he was told by the soldier at the vehicle checkpoint that he had to head back since they don't inspect merchandise in Qalandia. Yes, he knew this already, but the only cargo he had were empty plastic boxes, you could see they had no content as it was possible to look through them and see the other side. The soldier insisted. Orders must be obeyed and there was no way he wasn't going to do as she says. But the man, who had his two little sons sitting beside him also insisted:

"I don't have any explosives, I don't have any bombs, its all empty... "

"Yalla, Yalla... I could (we failed to hear what she could)"

"Don't you threaten me, and don't you tell me Yalla Yalla!"

"You are holding everyone up".

"You are the one holding them up, not me!"

The soldier called the police and Shaul the policeman arrived. He looked cross and authoritative. For starters he rebuked me: "you know you're not allowed to take photos here!", then he continued by taking care of the defiant driver by telling him he should listen to the soldier. The driver insisted: "she is full of it, those aren't the rules!"

But the ending of this event could have been foreseen, half an hour that encounter between the Palestinian driver and the armed soldier, the policeman backed up the soldier, who in her turn also got a bit of fun. The driver headed back with his two sons and the empty plastic boxes.