Roni Hammermann, Ilana Hammermann, Tamar Fleishman; Translator: Charles K.


“For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.”  (Hosea 8:7)


Like an octopus, but with many, many more arms.

The occupation, with its thousands of tentacles, invades every public and private space.

Its malevolent emissaries leave destruction in their wake – both physical and psychological.

They rob youths of their dreams and hopes, leave their eyes burning with hate and despair.

For two months they’ve been punishing the community as a whole, and every single member.

Punishment of specific people, and collective punishment.

Punishment whose reason is unknown, having no expiration date.

Residents of the West Bank are being punished, as are the residents of Gaza.

Those arrested are too numerous to count, the number of people murdered and wounded increases.

The dismal reality of the Qalandiya refugee camp and the Qalandiya checkpoint tells the whole story.

At Qalandiya despair has faces, names.

At Qalandiya the two words:  “Security requirements” have become a hollow, meaningless slogan.

Because when residents of Gaza return to their homes after being hospitalized on the West Bank the occupation doesn’t allow them to take with them the food they’ve bought for their families, food that’s so scarce in Gaza, the mantra of “Security requirements” is only a malicious lie. 

Nor are the soldiers who daily emerge from the checkpoint area to fire tear gas and shock grenades at the children and youths throwing rocks serving “security requirements.”

Nor does the new firing position overlooking, and seeing into, the homes and shops in the refugee camp - a sniper’s perch - have anything to do with security.

Or the fact that for almost two months the parking lot at the checkpoint’s entrance, which was taken from the Palestinians in preparation for Ramadan Fridays, hasn’t yet been returned to those who need it and drivers are still locked out.

Nor is it necessary to say any more about the life-threatening policy of delaying ambulances carrying ill and wounded people to and from the West Bank.  It was Haim, a Red Magen David staffer transporting to a Ramallah hospital a young, semi-conscious Palestinian connected to an IV, who wondered why the soldiers were delaying for a very long time his West Bank counterpart, saying:  “They just doing it for no reason…”

That’s life, but it’s not for no reason.  It’s an ongoing policy of punishing the innocent, a policy of tightening the screws, tightening them again, a policy of suffocation.