Qalandiya - 2nd Friday of Ramadan

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Tamar Fleishman; Translator: Tal H.

Everything that was true last week applied this week as well.

The same rules, the same façade, strict adherence to every instruction, same ruthless domination, same use of laundered Orwellian lingo.

The big picture varies only in the small, personal, human details.

One woman deserves to serve as a model:

In the crowd that waited and waited, whom decades of occupation have made disciplined and subjugated, one woman stood out, dressed in white, wearing thongs, a black backpack on her back and a tight chin that testified to her determination.

The woman in white who had trouble walking was led in a Red Crescent wheelchair to the inspection post. There, said the computer, she was found unfit to get to prayer at Al Aqsa, and was supposed to leave.

Why? Because someone from her extended family is marked on the lists as supporting terrorism, so the ruling logic turns the entire human circle around him into blacklisted individuals, prevented from crossing into Jerusalem.

The woman got off the wheelchair, stood upright facing the ones blocking her way, and refused to turn back.

An armed gang came towards her and pushed her with their bodies.

When her strength gave out, she sat down with her back to the wall. The soldiers stood around her, tried to convince her, but the woman in white would not look at them, just sat there.

  • I looked at her and thought about Rosa Parks, who in a similar situation at a different time stood alone facing the apparatus.

  • There, like here, a human body may be broken, but not the human spirit.



Then the plot thickened, as we were all notified to evacuate the place, with soldiers and Border Policemen pushing us back.

There’s an event, one of the officers said. There’s a suspicious object, said another. No one crosses here now.

The crossing was closed.

We crowded to the road leading to Ramallah. Everyone who was supposed to cross through this opening which is originally an opening for woman – we were all sent to the opening meant for the men. Suddenly procedures became lenient. No more gender separation – which for years I have not been able to understand, especially on Ramadan Fridays. So, I stayed put.

They’re lying, said a short man on his way to Jerusalem to purchase medication for his epilepsy. They’re always lying. No object, no suspicion, they just want to make our lives even more difficult. That’s our life.

I don’t know about a suspect object. After an hour during which nothing was checked and the crossing remained unopened, I left.