'Atara, Qalandiya, Sun 31.7.11, Afternoon
Translating: Ruth Fleishman
A ten year old boy is serving three months in Ofer prison
Ever since his return from Ofer prison, Mahmud is always in the lead among the group of children that hurry to greet me. Perhaps it is because I was someone who was interested in finding out what had happened to him throughout the days he was imprisoned and once he was released. I too do not see Mahmud as just another child but as an individual, he is seen, he has his picture taken, he waits for his photos, he is thankful when they are in his hands, and when I ask him about his injured leg, he tilts with bashfulness that is not common among him and his friends when engaged in their profession- peddling, he smiles and answers: "no it doesn't hurt anymore…" slightly embarrassed, he then agrees to tell a story from prison, he says that over there, at Ofer prison, eight people shared his room, some were teenagers and others were adults, the youngest of them all was a ten year old boy (!) from Jalazone refugee camp who is serving three months in prison, he says that he himself, Mahmud, wasn't beaten in there, he was just taken for interrogation, that he denied having anything to do with the stones that were thrown and that the investigators demanded that he give them names. When released from Ofer prison he received his clothes back, "they didn't take the money", and the profit he made at work on the day he was taken in, had remained in his pockets and was enough for the ride back home.
Knowing that several hours later, after midnight, Moatassem Adwan aged 22, and Ali Kalifa, 23 years of age, were shot, I became aware that Mahmud's life and that of the other children is so very fragile and frail, it is a chronicle of a death foretold, in my mind I see the backs of the heads these familiar children/teenagers, bear like a target before the hunters' rifles, for it is not only their freedom that is hanging by a thread, but their lives as well that might be cut short by the trigger of a roulette.
It was published in the Israeli media that "the IDF would examine the use of live ammunition". Is this supposed to be appeasing or consoling?
This is another reason why we must give them names and faces, take their pictures, publicize and talk, because the children of today, the teenagers and lads of tomorrow are the story of the occupation in the present and in the future.
A resident of Gaza suffering from heart disease was on his way to surgery in a hospital at Nablus. The man had been taken in and out of ambulances three times that day, from one stretcher to the other, detached from his Israeli oxygen tank and immediately, so that his lungs won't collapse, connected to the Palestinian one, he and his documents that were inspected at Erez checkpoint- were rummaged once again at Qalandiya while he lied helpless, exposed to the burning sun and vehicle fumes, and hoping for the best.
In a ruff assessment it would appear that ten hours had passed from the moment he left his house and until he was admitted at the hospital.
A New Regulation/ Decree:
All vehicles that are parked at the parking lot on the Palestinian side of the checkpoint, between eight PM and five AM, will be towed!
The picture is of the decree and the warning that had been place on the window shields of the vehicles.
"Why do you keep coming here?- it's been a while now since this place last functioned as a checkpoint!"- asked one of the two reserve soldiers that came down from the pillbox and approached us. The lad insisted that it "wasn't a checkpoint"', he said, when talking about something else: "here, in the post".
He refused to understand that a "post" that mans armed soldiers who on occasions, even if they are now more rare then before, come down from the pillbox, stand at the center of the road, stop vehicles, inspect IDs and from time to time (according to their own testimony) even arrest people, or as they say: "catch suspects", and even shoot- rifle bullet casings and empty gas grenades that are scattered all around serve as evidence to that, is actually a checkpoint.