Qalandiya - meetings, conversations, allegations, and no consolation

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Tamar Fleishman; Translator: Tal H.

Many encounters, many talks, much resentment, many curses, not a single consoling word.

Summing up:

  • A man I haven’t seen for quite a while said he spent a year and a half in jail. For what? “Stones”, he said smiling proudly, his head raised high. Because here, in occupation territory, unlike in Israel where jailtime is a shame one tries to conceal, here jailtime is a model of courage, loyalty and defiance of the occupation rule.
  • A man - whose home is in Bani Naim, and here, in front of the Qalandiya Checkpoint, he and other members of his family find their livelihood peddling things - told me about the siege that the Israeli army has laid on his home town since war broke out, so that although in ‘normal’ times he would get back to his family at home every week, for the past few months he prefers to stay here, meaning in an apartment that the members of this family have rented in a refugee camp near Ramallah, from which they come every morning to try their luck with livelihood near the Checkpoint. He also said that the army plans to demolish the home of the Ra’anana terrorist attack perpetrators.

I also had a talk with a veteran security guard who came running to free me from his buddies who were about to open “procedures” against me, so he said. He just got back from a long haul of reserves duty, and disclosed that the reason the Checkpoint is closed most hours of the day is the fact that “there is not enough manpower” as many of the guards were called up by Edict 8 to serve in the war. He expounded his worldview, claiming that the main responsible for the current situation is Bibi, that the Hamas is not going anywhere and that the situation is bad and getting worse. I also learned from him that the vehicle barrier that is supposed to be open and active 24/7 is closed to traffic from 5 p.m., opening again 12 hours later, at 5 a.m.

Last but not least:

It was heart-rending to see a woman in such a manly space passing among car windows and trying to convince drivers to buy some of her poor wares.