Qalandiya - first Ramadan Friday

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Tamar Fleishman; Translator: Tal H.

First came the mourner.  Her feet were anchored beside the soldiers’ post, whereby the rules from this day on she is forbidden to proceed, holding a Koran and mourning the massacre Gazan children.

Her cry was private and public at one and the same time.

There was nothing but the powerful mourning of that woman, for those over there are in the hearts of these over here.

The sadness was in everyone’s faces. The massacred Gazan children are no longer numbered individually, nor by dozens or hundreds. Their bodies are counted in thousands. They lie in rows on behalf of endless vengeance.

The public space outside the checkpoint compound was filled mainly with emptiness and grief.

In previous years at the same time, the passage lanes - in an installation that is in fact a corral - are too narrow to fit the thousands who knocked on the gatesinfo-icon of Jerusalem on their way to Al Aqsa to observe the rules of their religion.

This time the place was silent, the crowd vanished.

Few did show up. The inspection of their ID was thorough and meticulous. Whoever did not answer the conditions of old age or childhood dictated by the regime was turned back shame-facedly.

This year did not see the traditional separation of men and women which the regime used to uphold, a custom that had made me wonder every year and I asked why only one month a year does the ruler consider the modesty of women. Well, here’s the truth - the essence is one and it’s a matter of rule, not of morality.

In the photo: brothers who according to their looks and ID are older than ten, so they and their pre-80-year-old parents had to turn back.

The smiles on acquaintances’ faces were more gestures of politeness than actual gladness to see me.

As Mohammad said, my acquaintance of many years who makes his living driving a cab:

There’s nothing. No work, no livelihood. The day’s fuel costs me more than I make that day.”

And one couldn’t ignore a man sitting alone all the while beside the road, concentrating on the Koran, for he and the likes of him attest to the sentence that Israel’s leaders like to cite, and is acted out by the army and its activators - everything happening in Qalandiya on Ramadan Friday is a mirror of the ‘freedom of worship’ that is customary here.