Qalandiya – in the DCL offices, the same neglect, the same exposed electric wires
Friends and others told me that yesterday evening, children from the Qalandiya refugee camp angrily attacked the checkpoint, throwing stones and fire bombs at it.
They were really young, I was told – 13 or 14 years old, no more.
In retaliation, the army exerted collective punishment, prohibited by international law, and closed the checkpoint on both sides – for those coming and going.
This lasted several hours, and only at dawn was the thoroughfare opened again.
Furthermore, without any legal authority, soldiers raided the shop that is open at all hours, and confiscated the memory card from the shop’s security cameras.
I came back to the DCO to see the changes following the renovations, because of which those offices were closed the last time I was there, at the place that is officially meant “For the welfare of the local population and supplying and operating their public services”.
It is important to remember that closing the place for any reason whatsoever freezes the lives of thousands of Palestinians who badly need a permit for every step of their lives and deaths, and situates their days on hold, as I was told when I asked if the Palestinians were told about this closing (as I reported) – “They’ll come, see it’s closed, and leave”.
I entered the front of the offices before closing time, and did not notice any changes since I last came. The same neglect, the same stained and raggedy benches, the same exposed electric wires on the wall, the same problems and the same heart-rending applications. Only different people.
Inside sat people and waited in shining, blinding light, whereas outside, in a place called ‘the waiting shed’ which is no shed at all, sat people in the kind of darkness that mirrors their inner state.
On my way back from the West Bank to Jerusalem I was stopped by the inspecting girl-soldier who yelled that I was not allowed to be where I had been, and that I was committing a criminal offence.
She took my ID and made me wait at the side of the armored post where she was sitting. After quite a few minutes, and after her making a phone call somewhere, she gave me back my ID and yelled at me: “Scram!”