Bir Zeit/'Atara, Qalandiya, Sun 16.10.11, Afternoon
Translation: Ruth Fleishman
Ever since Rosh Hashanah all bus passengers are taken off the vehicle and forced to walk through the checkpoint that is on the other side, the old one.
When the checkpoint for the residence of Jerusalem was opened ten months earlier, elders, babies and pregnant women were permitted to pass while still seated in the bus. As of now- it is no longer so.
Professor Nadim Masis, a philosophy lecturer in Bir Zeit University approached us, he is forced to pass at the checkpoint quite often on account of his job. Angry and frustrated he asked: "What are you doing to make this situation and this behavior towards human beings end?". He was carrying a medical document specifying his illnesses, his disabilities and all the different kinds of medicine which had been prescribed for him, he was advised to carry it so as to make the passage easier. For professor Masis every physical effort and agitation presents a risk to his life. According to him, when he shows this document to the soldiers, instead of being considerate towards him, they are disregarding and rude.
He started talking about his unstable medical condition and proceeded by discussing the state of the Palestinian nation: "There was much hope when Obama was elected, but Obama is, as were his predecessors captivated by the Jewish lobby… Why don't they (the Israelis) let us live in peace? I want to have a good neighboring relationship with the Israelis. Why do they keep hindering all opportunities for two states? I think they mean to overtake the entire West Bank, to take all of our land. What they want is for us to go away. But aren't we human beings? Where would I go? Yes, I have a profession, I have a diploma, but it's impossible for me, at my age, to start a whole new life somewhere else. After all, in fifty years there will be more of us than Israelis, what will they do then? Will they continue to say even then that it all belongs to them, as was written in the bible?
And you know what the worst thing is? That no one sees us: the Israelis don't see us, the world doesn't see us, even the Arabs in the Arab countries don't see us…"
Although we don't have the power to change reality, not that of professor Nadim Masis nor that of his people, the least we can do is write and publicize what he said, make his anguish and his pain for himself and for the general public known.
Atara/ Bir Zeit checkpoint:
After seeing the picture in the link below, we rushed over:
But all we saw was a checkpoint manned by soldiers who were either to terrified to step outside of their fort or weren't allow to do so, while crowds of Palestinians passed by waving and greeting us as they drove off.
They fear that if they stop the soldiers would come down from the pillbox and they might end up like those in the linked photo.
A kind of balance of terror is found there- each side terrified of the other.