Hizma, Qalandiya

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Tamar Fleishman; Translator: Tal H.

The vehicle taking patients home to Gaza was already filled. Carrying nine passengers including a child who looked at me from the inside. Nine are actually eight who are actually four returning patients. How come? Every patient has an accompanier, and the whole group has a Gaza in charge – namely nine in all, 4 of them patients. Few patients returning means that few patients were actually issued permits to exit the Gaza Strip for treatments in the West Bank, namely – the number of permits issued patients and wounded persons has actually been reduced. Which means that more people are wasting away, ill without medication nor doctors nor appropriate equipment to save them of their misery.

They have a face. Worst is when they have a face. Thus spake the captain in Hanoch Levin’s famous play, “The Dreaming Child”.

“Pits are bottomless” was the lesson I learned from the poet Eliezer Kagan when I was his student. How else can one understand the new greeting sign put up by the sovereign?

(In Hebrew the ill-worded or misspelled sign could literally mean “Welcome for passage are the feet of Jerusalemites”…)

There is something winning in this ignorance but also suspicious about the persons who posted it as it is.

And what the Palestinians say about this sign is that whoever thought this was the track to take is proven wrong for in reality, on Fridays and Saturdays the gate is in fact locked. Perhaps it is after all a gate for people observing the Sabbath??

A certain army procedure is named “Reaction-stimulation”: a provocation meant to make Palestinians react, in reaction to which the army reacts in turn.

This is what happens every single night at Hizma village. Army vehicles enter it, drive up and down streets, their tires screeching, and are not satisfied until some children throw stones.

Stones thrown are considered ‘disruption of the public order’ and the army’s reaction to that is using crowd dispersal means such as firing stun and teargas grenades to restore order, until the next night.

Not only Palestinians collectively experience the might of the Israeli army. This might strikes individuals as well.

One of these individuals is Mohammad whose 24-year old son was arrested two weeks ago. For nearly a week the family had no idea where the son was taken nor why. He simply disappeared. One day notification came that he would be seen by a judge at Ofer Military Court the next day. So the mother went to Ofer and came home with her son, who was not released until she deposited a 1,500 shekel bail.

What did they want from him? His details were found on the cell phone of one of his village buddies, accused of stealing and burning the bag of an Israeli secret service person who was shopping in one of the village nurseries.

Tamar Fleishman
Tamar Fleishman