Qalandiya - Second Ramadan Friday

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Tamar Fleishman; Translator: Tal H.

That which was thought up and carried out in order to prevent crowds from arriving at the Friday prayers is in fact meant to thin them out.

The restriction instructions coming from above are meant to reduce as much as possible the number of West Bank inhabitants passing over to the Al Aqsa Compound on Ramadan Fridays and relate to Palestinians not as human beings but as weeds that need to be pulled out as much as possible.

The authorities spoke of freedom of worship, and applied strict selection criteria at the same time.


Supported by his walker, the man stood embarrassed, helpless - and waited.

No one knew what he was waiting for - neither did he, perhaps.

His wish to observe the religious law of prayer on Ramadan Friday at Al Aqsa Mosque, and knowing that he was eligible age-wise, he overcame his physical hardships and arrived at Qalandiya, the main gate from here to there, from Palestine to Jerusalem.

At the first inspection post, when he presented his ID to the soldier, evidence of his advanced age, the inspector demanded a magnetic card and a permit to enter for prayer. Neither were in his possession.

His wonder, requests and pleas were no help. The man was not allowed to proceed.

Indeed, in spite of publications declaring that restriction is limited to the age factor, in actual fact the instruction handed down, demanding a magnetic card and permit to pray (from dawn until 5 p.m.) is still valid.

Many of the people coming did not know of these demands or did not know that with a simple pressure of their finger they could get such a permit on their smartphone application, so not only age thinned out the number of people entering - the added information raised the number of those refused entry.

The track through which anyone not answering such criteria was signaled by spreading new, shiny barbed wire spirals that surround a pile of junk and furniture parts.

Furthermore - those crossing the checkpoint in the morning must validate their return to the West Bank until 5 p.m. from where they exited it, and are therefore denied the possibility to stay for the evening prayer and/or the festive meal breaking the fast with their friends and family in East Jerusalem.

Inspection of those returning is done by the new installations at the entrance to Qalandiya Checkpoint.

When checkpoint closureinfo-icon time came close, a group of women refused entry - who did not know each other until that time - came together for a joint prayer and loudly, with rhythmic calls, sounded their prayer and cry to their god.


Things one sees on the way, or - the loneliness of those women sitting on the roadside.


Things one sees on the way, or - the loneliness of those women sitting on the roadside.