'Anata-Shu'afat, Qalandiya

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Maayan Sacher and Tamar Fleishman; Translator: Tal H.

Qalandiya and Shu’afat

From 11 a.m. until 16:00 the woman waited at the checkpoint until she received permission to return home to Gaza. Eight days ago she accompanied her severely ill daughter for treatment at the Al Najah Hospital in Nablus, sat by her side and nursed her.

At the end of this hospitalization, mother and daughter reached the Qalandiya DCO, stood in line, entered the offices, turned to the counter to receive their signed document. The daughter did. The mother did not.

She was told there’s a problem with the coordinating body at Erez Checkpoint (entrance to the GazaStrip from Israel).

A bureaucratic glitch? –Communication problems? –Malice? –All of the above?...

The 20-year old daughter deliberated, did not want to travel without her mother, nor did she want to miss her permit’s valid timespan, so she proceeded, reached Erez, crossed the checkpoint and sat to wait for the mother who remained behind and never ceased phoning the Palestinian coordinating officials in Gaza, again and again, until they yielded (or were exhausted) and notified the Qalandiya DCO that there was no ground for refusing this woman her right of passage.

Towards evening, the mother and daughter finally came together.

At the Abu Khdeir home in Shu’afat

An hour with the parents and other family members who returned from the graduation ceremony at the school their son Mohammad had attended.

Diplomas were issued to all the graduating students.

The live ones, and the dead one.

Even the pleasure of noting, “This is Mohammad Abu Khdeir”, as the proud grandfather Hussein says, does not conceal the bleeding void opened in their heart on the night of that fierce bonfire.

Before taking leave, I told the Abu Khdeir family and their friends about visiting Bilal Kayad, the administrative detainee who has been hunger striking, and the listeners were deeply moved.