Qalandiya, Fri 5.9.08, Morning

Observers: 
Neta E, Ruti B, Hannah T, Phyllis W., Tamar F (reporter and photographer), guests: Ella and Guy
Sep-5-2008
|
Morning
"Jerusalem is closed politically and opened religiously.  We do not intend
to build a Berlin Wall in the heart of Jerusalem, and we do not intend to
prevent freedom of worship" (from an interview with Shimon Peres, July
1994)




Regulations regarding passage were  observed.  Those permitted
passage to Friday prayers were: Women over the age of 45 and men over 50 who are
not forbidden by the general services.  According to what was reported in the
media and reported by Ruti, the security forces were spread out at every
possible intersection and around the Old City.  The checkpoints were encircled
by police and border police and no vehicles were allowed to get near the
checkpoints.
Qalandiya checkpoint had two open passages: for women on the eastern side,
and for men on the regular sleeves.  There were a lot of Arabic speaking police
among those passing.  Everyplace, there were more women than men.  The first
inspection of those allowed to pass took place in the village to the north so
that the parking lot remained a sterileinfo-icon zone.
11:00  The lineup of soldiers was behind the passage to the checkpoints of
the police and near the new low walls of the parking lot.  Sharpshooters were
present at their stations with rifles on the ready.  We heard an announcement
that no more men would be allowed through, even though some were still allowed
to pass.  Those with blue i.d.'s and those who satisfied the age criteria were
allowed to make their way to Jerusalem.  Several hundred remained within the
enclosures and were not allowed passage.  The soldiers prepared for an outbreak
of "disturbances", distributed smoke grenades, shock grenades, rubber bullets,
and tear gas.




11:15, The passage to Palestinians was fully closed. A surgeon from Nablus who was well over 50 years old asked an officer to
allow him to go to prayers and he was rudely answered "no more people are
passing now.  Wait patiently for another two or three hours.  Have you no
patience?  The doctor had patience.  Already for 41 years he's had patience.  He
remained standing in the burning sun in hope that perhaps the gatesinfo-icon of prayer
would be opened. An employee of Hevra Hakisha (the burial society) brought a document
attesting to his employment.  He said that he had to get to a funeral at the
Givat Shaul cemetery and was answered "Today there are no dead and no burials". 
A group of women came by waving their green i.d.'s and aroused the anger of one
of the officers.  He focused on one of them and shouted at her "Shut your
mouth".  A border police officer grew tired of telling people that they could
not cross anymore and started in with a series of curses after which he pointed
to his head and asked "what, have you no sense".  Stones were thrown at the
soldiers and they responded by shooting shock grenades and then continued to
fire whatever was available to them.  Smoke rose over the checkpoints.
12:00 One of the soldiers started clenching his hands like a little boy who
demands that he gets what he wants and called to his friends "give me grenades,
give me grenades.  They gave them to him and he fired them and calmed down.  As
Paul Celan wrote in his book "Travels to the End of the Night" This is the
nature of soldiers when they are engaged in killing; they behave like children.
There was strong odor of tear gas in the air which burned our throats and
eyes.  A Palestinian who was wounded in his head was brought to an ambulance
that awaited him near the side of the wall.  He was treated and bandaged.  A boy
of `15 was injured in his neck and his shirt was singed.  He was also bandaged
up by a team of medics from Ramallah. 
A frustrated young man said that he was released after sitting in an
Israeli prison for 13 years, and he poured out his wrath on us.  He said that he
was a great believer in coexistence and in solving the conflict through peaceful
ways.  Now he doesn't believe in any of these slogans and sees no other option
in his future except to be a Shahid.  And, in a final gesture, he pointed at me
and said "And you are all from the GSS"
On our way back, we heard the 2:00 o'clock news which reported "Security
forces dispersed a demonstration of 300 Palesitnians at Qalandiya.  There were
no injuries".