Tamar Fleishman; Translator: Tal H.

Only one passenger today, said the driver of the Gaza patients’ transport vehicle. The driver knows this because this is what he Civil Administration official told him.

And there really was only one passener,  a person who underwent heart surgery in Nablus two weeks ago, and now wants and has to return home to Gaza. Problem: sending him on his own in the common transport is too expensive and letting him travel outside the organized system is against the rules.

Why? Because of the fear that the man will escape in the middle of nowhere, between here (Israel) and there (Gaza).

Consultations and phone calls were exchanged between the Civil Administration official on the ground and his superiors, elsewhere. When it had become that he must not be allowed to travel on his own, and the man already planned the rest of the day and the next night with his relatives in Ramallah, a turn in the plot evolved and he was allowed to take a cab, on the condition that the Gazan Civil Administration worker would join him.

But minutes later, as the post-surgery patient and the CA worker advanced towards the parked cabs, another person arrived, headed for Gaza. Another turn in the plot, another prohibition, and more phone consultations between here and there.

This scene that seemed to be repeated began to grow tiresome and I did not remain to find out how it ended. I left. But it did not leave me. As I crossed the checkpoint headed for Palestine, I ran into a boy and his mother dragging huge suitcases, headed for Gaza. I suggested they hurry or else they’d be too late.

An hour and some later, as I returned to the entrance of the checkpoint, there were the boy, the mother and the suitcases. The mother said that as they arrived at the DCO offices to request a permit to cross the checkpoint and proceed to Gaza, they were told that the workday at the DCO had ended (they got there approximately at 3:30 PM).

What did the boy and his mother do, where could they go? I have no idea. I do know they’ll be back tomorrow. Perhaps then, after  hours of waiting, they’ll be allowed to cross the checkpoint and proceed to Gaza.

A week ago already, I heard rumors that the body of Mohammad Alian – murdered by Israeli police – had been mutilated. I avoided writing about it, because I avoided thinking about it.

But things have haunted me, and I heard that the body handed over to his parents was missing a hand, and one of his eyes was punctured.

How do you know this? I asked the person who told me.

I saw it. I swear by my own eyes.