Qalandiya, Fri 3.9.10, Afternoon
Qalandiya checkpoint, the last Friday of the Ramadan, 3.9.10
A complete picture is a compound of all its elements:
The road was blocked before an elder driver heading to Qalandiya village, by three BP soldiers near Atarot industrial zone. The blockers explained to him: "Today it's forbidden to drive from here...", "Today this road is closed!"... The man couldn't understand. He didn't speak Hebrew. None of the three soldiers spoke Arabic. I was baffled and one of the soldiers responded by saying: "It's a Jewish state...".
*An officer armed with a camera was standing at the shed in front of some elder women who were walking towards Jerusalem and kept taking picture, pictures, picture... It seems that a positive profile item on the enlightened occupation that guards the religious rights of the other is in the making.
* The women, who as noon approached became more anxious that like previous years once again they wouldn't be permitted to pass to El Aqsa for prayer, were shoved on each other towards the military blockage while stretching their hands forward, holding their IDs as proof of their old age which is what qualified them to pass and perform the command of their religion.
Young children were crushed between all the clustered bodies. Palestinians from the medical crew came to their help, they climbed over the brick blockage, carrying the children in distress in their arms and moved them to the other side, so that they could wait until their mother reunites with them.
The highest ranking commander wasn't too pleased when he realized that television crews where covering the procedure and ordered that there would be no more "fishing". He wasn't concerned about the children who got crushed, but about the unflattering picture that would come of it. For it is the picture and not reality that creates the image.
*An infant of three who had been separated from his mother by the crowd, started to scream in horror when he realized that a stranger was holding his hand.
*A baby whose mother was blocked, was place in her grandmother's arms to join her in the prayer. The child looked back in terror and burst in to tears, a heart breaking sight.
*The "evolving door" was working on that Friday as well: a woman who was caught entering the sterile zone and her documents proved that she didn't make the age barrier, was sent back through the crack in the wall. Those who had tried this more than two times and didn't succeed, was detained until the officer, who had her ID in his pocket the whole time, took pity on her.
*On the eastern side, which was allocated for the men, the soldiers were especially strict and harsh. We were also allocated a zone and we weren't allowed to take pictures from the front. Vivi and I were told stand behind the blockage, the order was: "You can't' stand here!... Don't take pictures!". Vivi started arguing about her rights. I ignored it and kept on standing there. Shlomi, the commander, sent one of his men to pull me away with force. When I told him that if he persisted to touch me he would find himself charged with sexual attack, he took his hand off me. Once Shlomi and his men understood that I was there to stay and take pictures, they implemented the most heinous of methods and closed the checkpoint, preventing the Palestinians from passing (the strong ones overcame the weak). And I, who in their eyes was the criminal, wasn't affected by it. Since it wasn't time yet to close the checkpoint, I didn't insist on my rights, I walk to the spot that was assigned for me and the checkpoint was opened again. Then I found myself standing in front of a television crew which had witnessed this event and started talking to me- to the dissatisfaction (which was evident from the look on his face) of the officer.
"Who distinguishes between the sacred and the secular, he will forgive our sins..."
* 12:15 is the hour of distinction between sacred and secular. The hour which distinguishes between the Ramadan procedure and that of the daily routine. The blockages and checkpoints had been taken down and will be reserved for the upcoming Ramadan. From that moment onward none of the elders could pass without an inspection and every Palestinian was once again security menace.
*We found Aesha, a 65 year old women from Elamari refugee camp (she had been abandoned by her husband years ago- he left to Kuwait where he married another woman), sitting on the ground in front of the turnstiles which had been locked. She was trembling and sweating, exposing her neck which had swollen up because of her dysfunctioning thyroid gland, and showing us a bundle of papers and documentations which testified that she suffered from: "blood, gut and thyroid illnesses". From the documents we learned that the women had a reinforced UNRA card, proving that she was in a bad financial state. Aesha asked to go to Augusta Victoria hospital, where she had been treated before. She didn't have a permit. Had she known in advance that the illness was to strike, she probably wouldn't have made it to the necessary offices to ask for a permit, since even the money with which she arrived at Qalandiya was what she had collected from her neighbors.
Only fifty minutes after we started "pestering" the officials at the administration regarding her case, a solution was found which wasn't in violation of the regulation that states that no person shall pass without the appropriate permit. A crew of the Red Crescent arrived and took Aesha to a hospital in the West Bank,
*Lena, who researches humanitarian organizations, remarked that in her country, Norway "a sick person simply goes to the hospital without having to go through such hindrance and suffering". We explained to her that this is also the way it works in the State of Israel, and that what she was witnessing was the violation of the basic rights of those who live under occupation.