Qalandiya - a routine of abuse
“A Palestinian drew a knife facing soldiers in Kiryat Arba (settler-colony adjacent to Hebron) and was shot to death”, thus ran the Haaretz headline onTuesday.
A similar event happened at noon on Sunday, at Qalandiya Checkpoint. Similar and different.
Different because rather than ending with a dead body, there was an arrested woman, and perhaps no dead body means no headline.
What I heard from two Palestinians who witnessed this scene, one inside the checkpoint and the other outside, was that a young woman walked into the vehicle checkpoint which is strictly out of bounds for pedestrians. One said she had a knife, the other claimed there was no knife. Either way, what happened was that the guards yelled at her to stop and she didn’t but rather went on walking. Guards came towards her, spraying her face with teargas, she fainted and fell, they stood around her and waited until police came and took her away.
An 18-day old baby born with respiratory difficulties was hurried by ambulance and accompanied by a doctor who respirated him, to Maqassed Hospital in East Jerusalem.
“If he is left for two minutes without oxygen, he will die” said the ambulance driver.
The baby, the mother, the oxygen tank and the doctor all crossed into Jerusalem. But the ambulance that may have avoided hardship and delay remained beyond the fence, waiting for the doctor to return.
Why? Because there are laws and regulations (that are not really lawful) and such. The Palestinian ambulance team sat for a long time inside the ambulance, waiting. After an hour I still saw the waiting ambulance lights from a distance.
The asphalt area which used to be the bus terminal to and from the West Bank has now been cleared by order of the sovereign.
No questions asked, no consultations, no objections, neither of the bus company owners nor the drivers not the many thousands for whom these buses were their only means of vital transport.
The new location of this central transportation hub has been moved further away, in back of the vehicle checkpoint.
What used to comprise a walking of distance of about 10 meters from the checkpoint exit to the bus is now about half a kilometer, and although for many months construction works have been done, building and demolishing, and paving and moving, the new location has not a single water faucet and the ride coordinator must lug water in jerry-cans to and fro.
So true, this trek is no easy feat and the way from here to there is not really paved or smooth, and it’s very very hot these days, and there’s no water, and no latrines and the rainy season is just around the corner, but hey, at least they have founds some use for the end of the takeoff tarmac of the (former) Atarot air field…