Qalandiya, Sun 25.8.13, Afternoon
Translation: Ruth Fleishman
This is how it works under the occupation, the one holding a rifle is permitted to shoot the person standing before him, and the one standing on his own land with a stone in his hand is the offender.
Omar Thamimi is eight teen. His during his childhood and adolescence he was in pain as he suffered burn injuries
But that is not our story. The story is about Omar Thamimi who had seen tens of thousands of people crossing Qalandiya checkpoint during the Id-Al-Fitr, longing to see the sea. Omar also wanted to go to the sea. He took his 14 year old cousin Mahmud along with him, and together the two of them headed to Tel-Aviv. This didn't have a permit nor did they approach the authorities to ask for one. They simply headed to Tel-Aviv.
What the two teenagers didn't know, was that despite the fact the hundreds of their people were dipping in the sea of Tel Aviv, the human hunters were not being idle. Omar and Mahmud were hunted down at the boardwalk. The cousins were separated, Mahmud was taken to "Ofek" (Horizon) - a prison for children and adolescents (what cynical name for a prison…) and released after four days. Omar was brought to "Hadarim". At some point Omar was taken to court. He doesn't remember when or where this was, everything was so different from what he had knew and was familiar to him up until then, but he does know and remember that he was held at "Hadarim" for twenty three days.
Because, this is how it works under the occupation, the one holding a rifle is permitted to shoot the person standing before him, and the one standing on his own land with a stone in his hand is the offender.
This wasn't Omar's first time in prison. He was caught as child while throwing stones during a demonstration at Nebi Salah and was incarcerated.
At the DCL offices during closing hours, when most of the rooms where already deserted, we joined two men- a father, who is a lecturer at a university, and his 24 year old son who is an engineer. They were waiting for a permit to grant the son permission to return to their home in Gaza.
The Palestinian DCL offices in Gaza had reported that the permit was ready and waiting at DCL in Qalandiya, but the computer said "no!".
The soldiers that understood that the two men and two women (us) were determined to stay there until they issue the document, tried to untangle the knot that was created by the two authorities. The father didn't give up, he called all the hot lines over and over again, it was evident that the man had connections and was familiar with the regulations. Just before five o'clock the computer was satisfied and the permit to return home was printed.
Now the two had to hurry and cross Qalandiya checkpoint, which during the afternoon is packed with people, and arrive at Erez checkpoint before seven- when it closes.