Jaba (Lil), Qalandiya

Roni Hammermann, Tamar Fleishman. Anais (guest); Translator: Charles K.

That’s what life here is like.


“That’s what life here is like,” said an acquaintance who told us about the man from the Qalandiya refugee camp whom soldiers killed a few days earlier and also told us about three others wounded in the same incident and are now hospitalized in Ramallah, “in serious condition, very serious condition,” he said and grew silent, like someone seeing images in his mind, and said again, “Yes, that’s what life here is like.”


Others also spoke, told us of the arrests and about those jailed, about Ibrahim, the child, “The one who sells Buza here,” who was 15 when he was arrested and will soon be 16 and is now at Ofer, “He’ll get out in two months,” and also told of Sayf, his brother, who is also now at Ofer, “Already in jail three months," they said, “His trial is tomorrow.”

-          I no longer ask why or for what or what they’re accused of, because the reality of their life is that no one’s innocent and there’s no “Not Guilty” option.

The account of one arrest led to a second and a third, each person’s own experience and that of his friends and relatives.  They talked of a man who had dreamed a few years ago he was carrying out an attack and when the dreamer woke in the morning, agitated, he hurried to recount the night’s event, and soon found himself on trial and convicted.  “He got twenty months inside.”

-          Dreaming is bad for a Palestinian.  And if he dreams, he’d better shut his mouth.  Not tell anyone.  And it’s even better for a Palestinian to forget about dreams.  Dreams are a refuge from the present and represent hope for the future.  What present has a Palestinian, what future can he expect?

Between one tale and another, between one encounter and the next, we received a phone call from Fatma, ‘Im’ad el-Bitran’s wife, who told us her husband has again been placed in administrative detention and again is on a hunger strike, now in its tenth day.

Three years ago, after ‘Im’ad had been on a hunger strike for 105 days, after his health had been damaged and he’d been close to death, the state reached an agreement with him that ‘Im’ad would stop his hunger strike and in return his administrative detention would not be extended.

‘Im’ad had been released on the date agreed upon, but the harassment of him and his family continued, including threats, frequent arrests, interrogations accompanied by torture, night raids on his home and confiscation of his car which he needed in order to earn a living.


His hopelessness and inability to see any future made him decide again to endanger his health and his life.


‘Im’ad, who knows the walls of the jail cell better than his home and his children, wants us to treat him justly so that he may live freely, if only in a relative sense, like his countrymen.


Fatma asked on behalf of ‘Im’ad and the attorney representing him that we also tell the story of his hunger strike to Jews.


We’re grateful to Vivi Tzuri for helping to be in contact with Fatma.


With respect to the Supreme Court’s collaboration with the military system, we recommend this article by Anat Matar:  http://www.haaretz.co.il/opinions/.premium-1.2874140


Photos from Qalandiya:


A selfie at Qalandiya:


Jaba checkpoint:  Policemen, policewomen and soldiers in panic lest WAZE again cause Jewish drivers to lose their way:


-“Did you end up at Qalandiya because of WAZE?!” asked/stated the policewoman

- No, I got to Qalandiya without using WAZE.

- “What did you do there?”

-  We had coffee with friends (that’s the honest truth).


But despite the irate tone and the angry expression she didn’t have time for us; she and her colleagues were busy with a Palestinian family from Hebron, parents and two toddlers, aged two and three, who had been detained in their car by the roadside for more than two hours.


The babies, who hadn’t yet learned to shut up when they’ve been stopped and detained for an unlimited period of time by armed people, cried and wailed while the mother and father sat helplessly without knowing why they’re being detained and how much longer it will take.  That sat waiting in a car that had become their cage.


Though they might have made an effort, and certainly were looking, no suspicious black marks were found in the family’s past, not in the police computer and not at secret service headquarters, and after more than two hours they were released, but not before the man, who doesn’t know Hebrew,  was given a police report in Hebrew which they made him sign, and he did, and the policeman who returned his car keys and his ID and handed him the report said only, “Within two weeks.  2000 shekels.”


So we read it, and what was written is that they were fined one thousand shekels because of an infant’s seat that doesn’t meet the required standards.

-          All, of course, according to the standards.  Only according to the standards, and only according to the law.