Jaba (Lil), Qalandiya
The space between the refugee camp and the checkpoint abounds in talks of arrests and imprisoned family members. Adults spoke of two brothers sitting in Ofer detention facility/prison – one about to be released and the other only much later. A boy listening on the side said, “My two brothers are also in jail, in Israel”.
The women-soldiers opened and closed the gates alternately and arbitrarily. They also held me in custody arbitrarily for several moments in the isolated cell, for to their question “What were you doing there?” (on the non-Jewish side of the checkpoint) I answered: “If this is not an investigation I am not obliged to answer”.
Later I thought of the fictitious comparison that is commonly made (by Israelis and others) defining the checkpoint as a “terminal”, and that it demands the same conduct as the Ben Gurion airport.
1. This definition does not exist either in the Palestinians’ mind or in the soldiers’. Only in that of volunteer monitors.
2. I have exited numerous terminals in the world and have always been required to present a passport, not an ID.
3. Never, nowhere was I asked what I did in the country I exited.
And on the other side of the checkpoint, a black cloud descended,
and wrapped the earth.
Jab’a Checkpointnow has new surveillance equipment, new communication equipment and new cameras.
Only the soldiers’ talk is nothing new.
“My company commander told me (on the phone)that you must erase all the photos you took and that you are not allowed here.”
On the separation wall between the West Bank and Pisgat Ze’ev settlement, a sign says “It’s time for sovereignty!”