'Atara, Jaba (Lil), Qalandiya, Sun 12.9.10, Afternoon
The end of the Id-El-Fiter. Hundreds of people were standing in front and inside the checkpoint, they were on their way to visit their families on the other side of the wall that had severed the fabric of the lives of tens of thousands of people by separating them from each other, but that wasn't able to make them forget the objects of their love and their dear ones.
Their festive and meticulous dress was in great contrast with the constant neglect and filth of the checkpoint
A young man who was sent away in shame told us that up until six months ago he had been employed in Israel. One morning, while he was on his way to work, his permit had been confiscated with no explanation and ever since he had been refused passage by the GSS. "I'm clean... I never had any problems..."
As of that day, like Josef K. ("The Trail"/ F. Kafka) who had been accused of something without being told what was his guilt and who's all attempts to reach the authorities and clear his name had failed, this man had been asking for answers, arriving at the offices of the authorities "Just so they tell me why...".
In his desperation he had arrived on his festive day and stood before a soldier, who was hidden inside the checkpoint post, perhaps she would tell him: "Why I am refused passage?"
-How might a person who doesn't know what his sin was, defend himself?
The checkpoint commander used every trick in the book to prevent us from standing in front of the soldiers' post. He used the claims that it presented a security risk to us, that we were distracting his soldiers, he stated that it was a military zone as well as telling us: "You are not allowed to stand here!"
We showed him the permit which allows us to stay at the IDF checkpoints and take photos, he read it thoroughly and eventually said it was invalid because the name of the organization I had claimed to be part of, wasn't specified on the paper, and I didn't have any official document to prove that I was part of that organization.
Ruth and Lene (my guests) received a more positive reaction; the commander told them with great enthusiasm about the importance of preventing the passage of Jews to dangerous places like Qalandiya.
Atara/ Bir Zeit checkpoint:
We arrived at the checkpoint hoping to learn why the it had been closed on 6/9/10. The mission was easier than had been expected. We met three of the tower residents; they were playing with a donkey as a herd of sheep was lying on the ground beside them (the attached pictures). They were happy to see us as though we were about to relieve them of their boredom.
About what had happened on the previous Monday: "You know, you don't take any risks when there are security warnings. They need to be checked..." so said a soldier that had taken part in that operation. "We don't do these things because we had decided on it. It comes from above...", and they inspected, they stopped the traffic and searched for whatever they were told to look for in those vehicles- "It took several hours, but that's the kind of operations that save your (my?) life even though you love them, those terrorists, and come to help them...". They didn't find the explanation that I wasn't there to help and that I don't support "those terrorists, convincing; and the information that this checkpoint, as well as others, wasn't placed at the entrance to the State of Israel and that there was a difference between the boundaries of "Israel' and those of "the State of Israel", didn't sink in.
The three of them said: "This over here is the State of Israel!".