Qalandiya and A-Ram
“The Occupation Kills Us”
The look in the eyes of this 16-year old boy belongs to one who knows there is no more hope.
His father’s gaze was an abyss of pain, in his mouth prayers for heaven’s mercy.
“This is my child”, he said.
For a child, even when a boy or even as a man, remains his father’s child, certainly at a time like this.
The father said his child suffers from cancer in the brain, and has already been operated in Muqassad Hospital, East Jerusalem. He is being returned there for his condition is…
A mere twenty minutes was this boy delayed in the ambulance until the road was opened for them to the other side of the checkpoint. A mere twenty minutes of delay. “Mere”, for in this place everything is relative. Even the duration of a delay.
And present, as always, were the rifles and the bureaucracy of “coordination” yes or no, namely whether they are or are not permitted to cross, and as always there were those invisibles who decide who gets through the checkpoint and who does not, and there was also the armed arm that tried to block the camera.
“What is she doing here?” asked Ahmad about Rimona (who, in spite of her misleading name, is not from here and has no Hebrew). “She is researching the Occupation”, I said.
“Tell her the occupation is killing us”.
There are two heavy metal gates in the wall that surround A-Ram, separating it from Jerusalem. They are army gates, and only the army has the right to enter and exit them, and only the army has the keys.
The western fate between Qalandiya Checkpoint and the town has been opened on and off for years now, in order to regulate the traffic pressures at the checkpoint, and policemen direct vehicles into A-Ram, never out of it.
Until recently, the eastern gate, separating A-Ram from Dahiyat Al-Barid was used exclusively by the army and the Border Police. Lately it has been opened for Palestinian use, it too for entrance only.
It is easy to enter Palestine, hard to leave it.
The gate is opened every day between 15:00 and 19:00 PM ( I don’t know about weekends and holidays, forgot to ask).
“Sometimes the Border Police get us stuck”, told us officer Yossi, and added: “Often they either don’t show up on time to open the gate, or to close it, and we get stuck”.