The day after the heinous crime of burning the family in Duma
6:30 “Good, very good that you came! What a mess today! You have to tell the world what is going on here.” This is the welcome I encounter as soon as I reach the sidewalk on the way to checkpoint 300.
There is tension in the air, everybody is nervous. Even before the hall one can hear roaring voices from the Palestinian side, a sure sign of stress, strain and pressure felt by those who want to cross the checkpoint on their way to Israel. We are promised 37 degrees of heat in the region today, the public-emotional thermometer will climb much higher. For about an hour the people who pass us just went through the different stages of inspection, their faces are grim this morning, no smiles whatsoever even from acquaintances, and we could barely notice a faltering greeting. It is difficult to digest the disaster wrought by the extremist settlers and the horrible outrage committed. Although we are no part of it - the pain and the shame almost prevented me from leaving this morning...
7:15 next to me, behind the checking windows a quite elderly woman is standing all alone, despite the sweltering heat she is clad in a hijab and a long dark coat over her clothes. She is all modesty mixed with insecurity and her apprehension from the outside world is obvious. She is holding a large brown envelope and observing with mounting anxiety the long line of people waiting to pass. I ask her in my minimal Arabic, "Shou Moscilh?" and understand that she is on her way for medical tests prior to surgery in a hospital in Jerusalem and her husband is there, being detained in the queue. She begs us to help them. I try to find out, and it turns out that the husband, a dignified man is 59 years old and apparently should be allowed to pass without a permit. But the soldier is strict and the security guard explains to me that the soldier is checking if the man is prevented and hence would not be able to pass despite his age. More nerve wrecking moments for the couple go by and finally bingo, there is an answer and the security guard explains politely in Arabic that the man is GSS prevented and cannot pass. Sylvia takes his details to check what is going on and try to enable his future passing for medical reasons. The couple says goodbye with crestfallen expressions, disappointed and worried. The sick woman would have to pass today on her own and cope alone with the medical tests. Law and order are saved.
Only a few people arrived today. The gloomy atmosphere is reflected here too. S. the lady who was enthusiastic about the idea of learning from us how to help her own people submit requests for removal of prevention - and was supposed to come for a permit to participate in a day-at-the-beach for a woman from her village - chose too not to come today. So very understandable. Everything is so very sad and oppressing, and only occupation’s routine continues on and on.