Qalandiya - the ladder crashed and Khaled was thrown on the ground

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Tamar Fleishman; Translator: Tal H.

At the height of the pandemic, when Israel issued transit permits to Palestinians so they could work in construction, the permits were issued on condition that the worker remain at his work place and not return to the West Bank in the evening.

Khaled held such a permit, but the person who provided him with work did not provide him with a place to spend the night.

The days were late winter and nights were extremely cold.

In order to bypass the draconian instructions, Khaled sneaked into the West Bank every night and back from it at dawn.

A ladder leaning on the 8-meter-high wall that surrounds the town of A-Ram served (and still serves) the desperate to cross over to the other side.

Day after day, week after week, Khaled – who never backed off hard work – managed to bring bread to his family.

But then came the morning of a day that in hind sight turned to be his catastrophe, a day in which his body and entire life would change.

Pre-dawn, Khaled climbed the ladder at the usual site, and just as he reached the upper rungs, a police or Border Police jeep emerged out of the dark. The vehicle’s lights landed on the man on the ladder, and the car swayed over to the wall, purposefully crashing into the ladder. The ladder was smashed, and with it – Khaled’s body thrown on the ground, his left leg before the rest of his body.

The policemen disembarked and took a look at the man’s body lying on the road. Upon seeing the bare bone peeping out of the living flesh, they returned to their jeep and hurried away.

Khaled remained lying on the ground, in agony, screaming in pain. Passersby summoned an ambulance that transported him to a Ramallah hospital.

He lay in the hospital for months. He underwent six surgeries, until running out of money, and then left the hospital prior to the completion of his treatment and against the doctors’ recommendation.

At present Khaled drags a leg, has a hard time walking, every movement is extremely painful and he has a hard time finding work.

A friend does him a favor and lets him watch a car park he owns two days a week.