Qalandiya – the banality of occupation

Tamar Fleishman and Orna Akad (reporting); Translator: Tal H.

It is 4 p.m.

A man of about forty reaches the counter. It is empty. The checkpoint closes at 5 p.m.
He calls for a soldier.  No answer. He moves over to another window. A woman-soldier sits there, looking at her computer screen.
I have a medical examination at Hadassah Hospital (West Jerusalem) at 6:30.
The checkpoint is closed.
But it’s 4 o’clock and the checkpoint closes at 5 – but… but it’s 4 now… He repeats.
The sign says no crossing after 5, but we close at 4.

He shows her his medical documents and summons for the examination at Hadassah.

-I just received these by fax.
These are orders from above. I can’t let you through.

-What can I do? It’s an important test.
We’re closed. These are our orders.

The man murmurs. It will now take another 3 months to set another date for the test.

What kind of test? We ask.

Echocardiogram… He folds the paper, tucks it in his pocket and goes back home.

All night I saw the sealed, white, expressionless face of a 20-year old girl in khakis, her braid resting on her shoulder.