First Friday of Ramadan
Only if you lived in Ramallah, only if half your life was over, were you allowed through the checkpoint.
The millions living in cities, towns and villages outside Ramallah were denied freedom of worship and forbidden to pray at Al-Aqsa.
Tight mesh fencing was stretched all along the roads on the West Bank:
At the Za’tara (Tapuach) checkpoint, at Adam Plaza and also at the Jaba checkpoint.
And anyone who managed to avoid the manhunters and threaded their way through one of the holes in the tightly-woven mesh was caught by the rigorous inspection at the entrance to the Qalandiya checkpoint and sent back through the revolving door.
There were no concessions and no discounts.
“I’m four months short” complained a disappointed man.
And one, who’d come all the way from Qalqilya, who has a Jerusalem work permit valid every day except Friday of Ramadan, said: “The problem isn’t that I’m young; the problem is the occupation.”
The entire army and its mother were at Qalandiya.
There were more soldiers than Palestinians.
Heavily armed, they waited for the few who walked on the charred, scorched ground and inhaled the tear gas.
From 11 last night until 3 this morning the firing of tear gas and the shooting didn’t stop, directed at the Palestinian youths protesting the murder of Muhammad abu-Khadir, from Shu’afat.
And on the wall, below the soldiers’ heads, a new photograph of the martyr Muhammad Yusuf Khamis a-Khaj.
Awaiting the next martyr.