Qalandiya, Thu 4.4.13, Morning
We arrived at 5:45am and found the CP nearly empty. An explanation was that many employees of the food-industry were not called for as there was a large surplus of poultry left over from the holiday, and not much demand in restaurants, where business is slow. Apparently there is a limited commercial and school strike sympathizing with the prisoner who died of cancer.
All the counters at the CP were open and passage was of course faster than usual. Even with the 'cages' (turnstiles) empty, it is difficult to imagine how thousands of people actually pass through them humiliated day after day.
Old acquaintances stopped by to greet us though hurrying on to work.
Today we were not alone on duty. A reporter and photographer from Channel 10 and a reporter from 'Globus' were there to interview us as well as the right-wing 'Human Rights Protectors'. (Is it part of their PR endeavors? After all, their manager is Dr Yoaz Hendel, who served as Netanyahu's PR person). As soon as the Channel 10 people showed up (on the Palestinian side of the shed!), a policeman and two civilian guards appeared announcing that "photography was prohibited" and "leave the shed at once', until they understood that these were TV people on the side of the 'protectors' and left them alone.
(Let's remind you of our 'camera battles' in the past. And have we yet mentioned settlers and the rightists?)
The reporters tried hard to get us to confront the 'protectors' but we resisted the temptation and it seemed the other side wasn't interested either.
The abyss between us is huge of course, as they are advocates of the occupation and of the opinion that we have rights over the whole country. Our opinion that the occupation in itself is a contradiction of human-rights is repellent to them. They regard human-rights issues as detached from politics.
They told us that at present they have some 20 members but are wary of standing at the CPs as they wear 'kippot'. Dr Hendel said that he was informed that we were members of the 'women's peace coalition' and therefore supportive of the ban. He proudly explained that four Palestinians had already approached them seeking assistance and that their favorable connections with the army and the Shabak would help them address their difficulties.
An elderly Palestinian, leaning on a cane, on his way to Jerusalem, was approached by one of the 'protectors'. He directed him through the' Humanitarian' lane, thus doubling the distance he had to walk.
In reply to a query on the effectiveness of the 'protectors', we remarked that our presence at Qalandiya (and other CPs) began over ten years ago and where were they then?