Qalandiya - A woman whose two sons and 13-year old grandson are in jail

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Tamar Fleishman; Translator: Tal H.

A woman whose two sons and 13-year old grandson are in jail

Quietly, fluently, as if speaking about someone else, as if this is not her own pain and suffering, a woman sitting down with me for a coffee told me about two of her three sons who are incarcerated.

And the third? –He’s little, in school.

The woman who had looked forward to the day when her livelihood would become her sons’ responsibility was disappointed and has to continue working hard.

“She makes the best cheese there is”, testified an acquaintance who joined our conversation.

When she finished her coffee she got up slowly, looked at me, sighed and added: “There’s the son of my son, a 13-year old boy, who is also in jail now.”

She picked up her cloth wrapped cheese load, took leave and went off to her toil.

That sigh echoed with thousands of others inside me and the face of the boy in jail reflected thousands of portraits of other boys, familiar and unfamiliar.

The way to the DCO offices was open, as was the entrance gate, but although the time was still earlier than closing time, the place was deserted.

They closed at 3:30 p.m. today, said a security guard. The soldiers went down to the Erez Crossing (Gaza Strip).

I didn’t ask what about the West Bank residents who need services of this place, but remembered what a man said about his experience crossing the renovated checkpoint:

When one begins it’s like walking inside a snake. And when one arrives at the end of the snake it’s like getting to this place… what’s it called? Where animals are butchered.

True, the man doesn’t know how to say ‘slaughterhouse’ in Hebrew, but is well acquainted with the anxiety and uncertainty of whoever needs this place and comes to it, the place that metes out the Palestinians’ fate.