Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim)

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Nura Rash, Chana Aviram, Translator: Charles K.

In Hebrew one letter, “heh,” distinguishes two states of existence:  “body” and “corpse.”  We don’t know which to write.  We’re not certain whether the man lying on an orange stretcher resting on the ground while another attempted to resuscitate him had died or was still alive as he was carried by the Palestinian paramedics to the ambulance waiting on the other side of the lane the checkpoint.  The partly covered body/corpse was borne on the stretcher, his/its arm dangling.  That was at 05:17; it was still dark outside.  We tried to find out from the people who filled the plaza at the exit whether they’d seen what had happened.  A person in one of the groups said immediately, “Someone died at the checkpoint.”  Yes, he saw it.  Another said he knows who it is, someone from Far’un, he has children, poor man.  And added, “We went on strike last Sunday and for two days 16 booths were open.  Look, now there are again only 4-5.”  A third man said they’ll go on strike again.  Elsewhere in the plaza we spoke with another group of people.  No, he’s not dead.  He had a heart attack.  He’s ill.  “But why didn’t they bring him to Israel?”  A good question.  This happens four or five times a week, they say. 


What’s the point in describing the Palestinian men and women who get up in the middle of the night to build homes in Israel, pick strawberries in its fields, sweep its streets?!  What’s the point in counting how many people move from one part of the facility to another?!  What’s the point describing the path they take along the corridor between fences and gatesinfo-icon where an unseen voice issues instructions and orders regulating their rate of progress?!  What’s the point of describing how quickly this corral is being built if someone, if only one person, is injured there!?