Qalandiya - returning to Gaza loaded with heavy luggage

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Tamar Fleishman; Translator: Tal H.
חוזרים לעזה עם חבילות לרוב

Over thirty people and many more bags and pieces of luggage filled to bursting and too heavy to carry left the checkpoint compound, headed for the transport platform and boarded the two vehicles designated to take them to Gaza.

For a reasonable person, the sight of so many pieces of luggage is followed by wondering what it is that they feel compelled to carry back home? But living in the Gaza Strip, under siege for so many years now and with its inhabitants’ everyday lives means simply limitations and want, restrictions and need that does not resemble the routine life of the reasonable person anywhere else in these parts.

While this cargo was being loaded onto the vehicles it became evident yet again that there is not enough space, and again the driver suggested to the passengers to hire a cab for their luggage, and again a verbal fight broke out arguing over who was to pay the extra fee.

Ever since a policeman knocked on my door some weeks ago in order to take me to the police car parked on the sidewalk against traffic regulations and drive me to the Rehovot police station, and since that policeman bore two kinds of weapon on his person – a handgun and a taser – I have been wondering why the policemen in the West Bank carry only a handgun and no taser. Especially in view of the fright that this taser brought into my home has caused me, for weeks I have been trying to understand this gap in arms between here and there…

This time, at the checkpoint, when a policeman struck up a conversation with me, I used the opportunity to ask him. My conversant said that the policemen at Qalandiya do have tasers in addition to the usual handguns, but not one for every policeman but rather one taser per five policemen. They prefer not to carry it.

So perhaps this was the reason I never saw one, even if I think that my home area (inside the Israeli central region) is less dangerous than the West Bank, but perhaps it is no less so?