Qalandiya: The pedestrian checkpoint gate is closed most of the day

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Tamar Fleishman

About the things on the margins of things.

While war is waged in Gaza no one gives a thought to the uninvolved population, the millions of Palestinians whose home is the West Bank, where horrifying events are taking place, victimizing both one and all: when the Minister of Inland Security states that  colonists must not be defined terrorists, and when the Minister of the Treasury, in charge of the Civil Administrationinfo-icon, is responsible for closing the DCO offices that are committed by law to provide life services to the tens of thousands at its doors – then, true, in comparison to what happens in the Gaza Strip these are marginal. Still, one cannot, one must not ignore these things.


Since October 7th, for most hours of the day no one enters or exits the pedestrian checkpoint gatesinfo-icon. The place where thousands of people crossed and was opened 24/7 shows a deserted space that is stressful, to say the least. The gate is opened at 4 a.m. and closes at 8 a.m., opens again at 4 p.m. and closes 2 hours later, at 6 p.m.

Simple arithmetic shows that it is active only one-quarter of the time.

This is in addition to the fact that the closureinfo-icon imposed at the beginning of the war has not been lifted, and no one knows when it might be lifted. Moreover, since that day, the DCO offices have been closed and do not provide the services which they are supposed to provide.

-What does a person do who needs them? I asked a policeman who blocked my way.

-Perhaps he goes to the Beit El office, he said and shrugged.

At 4 p.m. the line of people waiting grew longer and more crowded. The labyrinth through which the hall is entered in front of the soldiers’ posts was full and winding. For a long time they all stood crowded and quiet, and only the crying of babies who have not yet internalized the rules of patience dictated by life under the rifle barrels of the occupation broke the silence with their nervous sound.

I have known Ahmad since he was an innocent and beautiful child, who grew up to be an innocent and beautiful boy, and then a handsome man who found his love, raised a family and worked for its livelihood.

His life and his family’s life were peaceful. Then one day his fortune switched. “It happened ten days ago, maybe more”, our common acquaintances told me. “His home was broken in, and he was taken to prison. What was he accused of? He wrote a post in which he identified with Abu Rodeina, that’s what.”

Ahmad was convicted and sentenced to half a year in jail, and is held at Ofer prison.

As far as I know, at this time not only are members of his family not allowed to be present at his trial. They don’t even get the meager visits which prisoners are entitled to at other times.

True, Ahmad is not alone in his fate, following things that are usually disregarded. But he is unique for his family, and for myself as well, even if I am not related to him. Still, I belong to the circle of friends who surround him with concern and affection.

Furthermore – a few days ago his babyinfo-icon was born. Ahmad was not there for the birth and has not seen the newborn.

Lastly, Ahmad who was no political activist at any crossroads of his life so far. Who knows what will happen to his mind during the months in jail, who will he be when he gets out…