Third Friday of Ramadan Month
The checkpoint was swarming with armed Israelis.
There were down below, and on the side, in front and in back, but worst was seeing them up above, their rifle barrels pointed at the heads of the thousands of women on their way below, to the Al Aqsa Mosque.
As is the case every year on the third Ramadan Friday, this time too people swarmed to the checkpoint.
They made their way on private and public vehicles, motorized and on foot, babies on their shoulders, children clutching their hands for fear of getting lost in the crush.
Human movement filled the dirt tracks, the roads and the thorny and rocky mounds.
For this was perhaps their last chance this year to get to Al Aqsa for prayer. True, another Friday awaits them in this Ramadan month, but reality has taught the Palestinians that one never knows what the future might bring and which new draconian edicts are being hatched in the minds of their rulers that might get in their way.
At the entry and inside the inner circle, in the demarcated sterile area, there were several meticulous selection posts that created bottlenecks.
For the calling up of forty persons, the previous group was released, the stream was let through, forty people were counted, then everything froze again and people waited until the present forty were through being inspected, and the entire cycle repeated itself.
Anyone caught not up to standard – not precisely, but precisely according to the set criteria, not just close to them but precisely – he was doomed. Out. His happened to a father who had come with his two sons, the one “fit”, the other “unfit” – a boy barely over twelve years of age. To the order issued from above, the Border Policewoman pulled the “unfit” son’s hand, that pulled on his “fit” brother’s, and the father who did hold a permit to get through to prayer, in other words found “fit”, left with his children.