Qalandiya, Sun 1.9.13, Afternoon

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Roni Hammermann and Tamar Fleishman
Seriously? Does this make us safer?

Translating: Ruth Fleishman

  • When they have they want can use the computer to get information. They just have to want to.

 The pictures of the residents of Qalandiya refugee camp who were murdered in the break of dawn on that bad day, were hanging from the walls, from the polls along the roads and off the sides of cars. The people of the refugee camp also didn’t forget Ali Halifa's, who was shot and murdered by soldiers two years earlier at the same spot.

A friend told me about one of them, a father of four who worked for UNRWA: "The man would sweep the roads, he never stuck his nose into anyone's business'.

Another person spoke of his brother who sustained injury to his arm by live ammunition, he was still in hospital in Ramallah.

At the checkpoint: In the line at the entrance to the inspection post stood a 15 year old boy with his Kushan in his hand, he was nervous and worried. According to the laws of occupation, from birth until after his adolescence, a Palestinian child must always be attached to his birth certificate.

His brother, a toddler of three, was with him.

The soldier behind the window could be heard investigating him from time to time according to her whims, about the details on the passage permits. Because over there, at the checkpoint, a person doesn't have a right to his privacy. The questions and the answers were heard by all. This time she managed to reel in a teenager:

"Your name?"- The teenager new his name and answer correctly.

"Your father's name?"- A correct answer.

"The names of your brothers?"- He named them one by one.

"The date of your birth?"- He specified the day and the month.

"On what year were you born?" – the teenager that repeated the date of his birth was nailed to the window, as he handed over the worn out paper that proved his existence, he blacked out and sweat came dripping from his forehead. The investigator's voice turned from blunt to agitated and she ordered him to enter through the steel door. The teenager took his little brother in his hand and the two of them got eaten up in the labyrinth of the inside rooms and disappeared.

We remained standing outside of the post to find out what happened to them. From that spot we witnessed the thorough "care" with which the soldiers handled the people in front of them. Additional people were investigated. Others were luckier. Nobody got confused and forgot his name, the names of his parents or the date of his birth.

But one person forgot at the end on the previous working day to take his passage permit out his trousers, which were in the church in Jerusalem where he worked. He innocently thought that if they only check his ID number on the computer they would see that his permit was valid. The soldiers thought otherwise: "you can't pass. Someone from the church has to bring you the permit"- "who could do that? The priest?" the man asked, to which the soldier quickly responded: "those are the rules! Those are the rules! It doesn't matter what you say or… for the last time get back… I am not in the habit of doing anyone any favors".

She made a promise and kept her word. She didn't do any favors for anyone. On the contrary.

Then she found out that we had been watching, listening and writing down everything for over half an hour, and she demanded that we come back and stand before her. We were glad to come back and ask about the brothers.

-" Whatever goes on around here is none of your concern. We have something on that boy". The soldier said as she closed the gate before us, detaining us and preventing the Palestinians from heading on, whose time and rights are never taken under account, much like their right to point out that it was an illegal act of collective punishment. Since that was the case we pointed it out on their behalf and added that we were very interested in what was going on "over there" and in whatever it was that "they had on that boy".

We were detained until Edward the policeman arrived and released us. He said that the brothers arrived at the station and that they checked the 15 year old boy's record on the computer and that it was spotless, and that they, the brothers "were released long ago".

  • When they have they want can use the computer to get information. They just have to want to.