Qalandiya, Fri 26.7.13, Morning
Translation: Ruth Fleishman
The Third Friday of the Ramadan
On this Friday, as on the previous ones, the regulations were followed rigorously, the orders had been memorized, the criterions were harsh, the restrictions were familiarized and order was preserved.
Because only thus, with criterions and order, accompanied by drawn rifles, clubs in suspense, hatred that comes out of the eyes of those in charge of keeping the order with a voice that sounds their patronization and disregard, only thus, when there is no place of improvisations and generosity, does order become exemplary and the heart turns to stone.
Only thus can the swarming of tens of thousands who are knocking on the gates be controlled and regulated, only with these measures can so many people be sent back, can a person shut himself before the pleading of those who had been on the road since sunrise, carrying a prayer rug on their shoulder, suffering from heatstroke and exhausted from the fast, until finally arriving at Qalandiya checkpoint hoping for the best.
Only with criteria and order can a person raise his hand and voice to humiliate a father before the eyes of his children who hold his hand and gaze at him with anticipation, only in the name of order can elders and children be worn out with spiteful questions, be interrogated as to the number of brothers they have and the order in which they were born, and be asked a question such as this: "how many Ahmeds are there in your family?
In the name of the rules of this day, women were separated from their husbands and grandparents from their grandchildren, women were forced to wait under the blazing sun for a long time for their husbands who might or might have not shown up.
And when the system flaunts the alleviations granted to the Palestinians on the Ramadan, arises a feeling of bitterness and falsehood, perhaps because the permit signifys preventions, because the young boys/men whose ages are between twelve and forty, are prevented from fulfilling the commandments of their religion, and because from dawn to noon all other passage permits are considered invalid. It is no wonder that many of the thousands that have work, health or visitation permits arrive at night at the El Aqsa, sleep and wait there until noon on Friday to hold their prayer.
They have considered the preservation of order down to last detail and even the Red Crescent crews have been policed. The members of the crews, who do this work voluntary, are required to hand in their application at the offices of the civil administration before the end of the Ramadan month, so that they can be profiled: inspections to see whether they are a threat, at the end of which a list of 25 names is issued, specifying who are the ones allowed inside the checkpoint, which is a sterile zone for Palestinians (one of the more blunt expressions of racism is that Palestinians are forbidden from standing or waiting at that huge site. They may only move from one entrance to the other, according to the orders of the sovereign).
The volunteers of the Red Crescent who hadn't been screened were forced to stand outside the metal and concrete barricades.
The mind that concocted this strange dish issues each week colored plastic handcuffs that the DCL officer puts on the arms of the "chosen ones", so that they don't trick them and bring someone else in their place, and to make sure that they do not bring their own handcuffs and fools the system, each week a new color is issued.
On the third Friday of the Ramadan the plastic handcuff was red.
The policemen and the IDF officers were most satisfied with their decision regarding the hours during which the passage to Al Aqsa would permitted. Those who hadn't had the opportunity to pass weren't as satisfied. And one who person was shoved back aggressively by BP officers, shouted towards me: "take a picture!" and those standing by him- their bodies crammed against one another- backed his requested by nodding their heads.
After all, it is not their disgrace, shame and mortification. It is ours. I took a picture of him, of them, of us.