From here on they heard the routine answer repeated time and again: there’s nothing we can do about it, come back tomorrow.
So the mother and her sick 10-year old child sat on the metal benches on the Palestinian side of the checkpoint, placed their bags and packs at their feet and waited.
The mother’s face showed embarrassment, Mohammad’s face showed his illness, but not what he was on his mind.
The mother went back inside the compound, to the offices, hoping that perhaps this time her plea to take her ill son home before the day was over would be heard affirmatively.
The mother did not know that those inside determine whether one sick child would be detained or not, they also determine who lives and who doesn’t. Those inside act by the book, only by the book, and by the book a Gazan patient will not go back home other than with the supervised vehicle assigned to this purpose.
Again the mother heard the same answer: there’s nothing we can do, come back tomorrow.
Okay, tomorrow. Sure. But what happens until tomorrow?
Earlier, on the Jerusalem side of the checkpoint, I saw that transport vehicle leaving for Gaza…
Minutes before leaving, the ill children inside and I on the outside communicated by hand gestures and facial expressions through windows and reflections.
When they left I crossed the checkpoint and that’s when I met Mohammad and his mom.
After spending time with them and after trying and not getting an answer on the phone, I took leave of them heavy heartedly and proceeded to meet and talk with old and new acquaintances.
During the hour and a half I was there, two pairs of ambulances conducted the standard back-to-back transfer of patients. I get over my urge and habit to hurry up and document this, for I had no more strength left for more ill patients and more horror.
On my way home, at the entrance to the checkpoint, I saw Mohammad and his mom again, still sitting at the same spot, on the same benches.