Qalandiya, Sun 28.12.08, Afternoon

Mika Gintzbourg (taking photos) and Tamar Fleishman (taking photos and reporting) Guests: Hagi Gintzbourg

"I won't shake your hand. Your children are killing us". An acquaintance of mine said this to me at the entrance to the checkpoint.

The second day of the "Molten Lead War" (Oferet Yetzuka). How much more is installed for us?

A complete cessation of trade- Mahmud, the coffee sales man was the only one who kept on standing as usual from morning to evening at his same old spot, selling his merchandise. The only steady rock at that area. Steady? Not if the city's inspectors decide differently. It will be so until those inspectors arrive escorted by soldiers to confiscate the "Poor Man's Lamb" saying the Mahmud has no license. And then, Mahmud will once again have to collect six hundred Shekels (or is it more?) to get his merchandise back. Since two Shekels added up to another two Shekels (the price of one cup of coffee) are the bread and butter he earns for his family. Mahmud's friend who was standing by him greeted me and said: "I won't shake your hand. Your children are killing us". Mahmud agreed to shake my hand, but on that day he wasn't smiling and the light in his eyes had long been put out. "I'm not in a very good mood today", he sadly said.

"The permission to speak is granted to the comrade Parabellum/ The permission to speak is granted to the comrade submachine gun" (H. Guri)

- At the area between the checkpoint and the refugee camp at Qalandiya the submachine guns sang. Their friends, the other weapons, were their escorting choir.

- The comrade "submachine" was granted at Qalandiya the permission to speak without any intervenes, intermissions or restrictions.

-The poet spoke of the "Purity of Arms".  "May our nation keep guard of its virtuous nature" (Yehe Mahanainu Tahor) they used to say and brag. Just like then, so today one can hear expressions such as: "The Righteous Path", "A Moral Army", "A Just War"...   We witnessed all these clichés in action by the refugee camp at Qalandiya.

- We kept hearing euphemisms as the gun, rifle and submachine guns kept shooting.

-The barricades place there during the Ramadan, were Goliath's shield. He was fierce and mighty as he fought the children who held stones and slingshot.

- A boys' game took place before us. Only boys were standing from both sides. Tens of armed forces were using a wide variety of different weapons, and it never ran out. The ammunition was brought to the posts from which the shooting took place, they were stacked in a box filled with army's diverse arsenal.

- Children/teenagers from the refugee camp gathered together and stood on a hill in front of the soldiers, they clapped their hand and yelled: "more, more ,more..." and Goliath gave them the performance they wished for! He aimed and shot, the satisfied expression on his face revealed his feelings of self pride.

- There, before those children, the masculine, chauvinistic potency came to light through the intimate relations between the soldier and his rifle. 

- Normally these soldiers refuse to talk to us or even greet us hello, but on that day they were more then happy to tell us of the marvels that "their weapons" managed to do, to show us what kind of shells they had, to name them and elaborate.

- They threw shock grenades, gass and rubber bullets.

And as A' said to me, a soldier that answered me when I asked him to which part of the body does he aim his rifle: "from the knee downwards". He said that they (the soldiers) are "merely trying to attain order".

I asked him why should it matter to use whether Qalandia functioned without any order, what has it to do with us? and A' said: "it might reach Israel".

"So close this border and it won't", I replied.

"THE PROBLEM IS THAT THERE IS NO BORDER". He then understood just how absurd the situation is, and admitted that it made no sense.

But A' is a new soldier. Will the army scorch his sense of logic so that he will be able to explain that contradiction according to the army's reasoning? Or perhaps, will he remain a thinking individual who questions what is told to him?

- My decision is to give him the benefit of the doubt.