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Tamar Fleishman; Translator: Tal H.
Seriously? Does this make us safer?

A West Bank ambulance was waiting between the traffic lanes of Qalandiya Checkpoint. I waited on the opposite sidewalk. “Move away!” someone yelled behind me. I turned around and saw Policeman Menashe Chai close to me. Too close. Despite the physical proximity he would not stop yelling that I am not allowed to stand there, that I’m interfering with their job and must move on. Interfering? – Not at all. I was standing away from them and had not turned to them nor to him.
“I am in a public place” I said.

He: “This is no public place. The fact that we allow the public to hand around here is really a problem and if you don’t get that, you’ve got a problem.”

I didn’t get it then and I don’t get it now – the sense of his words.

Menashe went on yelling: “We’ll arrest you* and no lawyer will be able to help you. Move away.”

With ridiculing head gestures and a misogynic shrill voice he repeated every word I had said: “I’m not moving away… I’m right here…”  etc. When he was done imitating me, he got back his usual authoritative voice. But the yelling was not over. “No ambulance will come here.” He spoke and remained true to his word.

Note that at Qalandiya Checkpoint the policeman is the supreme commander and has the final say about anything.

In response to my insubordination Menashe decided to mess up the easiest targets, get at them and punish those whose life has already become unbearable – Palestinians on their way to hospitals and the Red Crescent medical crew.

All personnel at the vehicle checkpoint were ordered not to carry out ill patients’ transfer at its designated spot bur rather between the traffic lanes, in the center of the vehicle checkpoint.

I returned two hours later. The early darkness was already full, and Menashe? No longer there in body, but certainly present in spirit and command.

Two intensive care mobile units from the West Bank and two from Jerusalem that had arrived could not exchange their patients at the usual spot, only between the lanes, and as a result, traffic was congested much more than usual at this time of day.

Many were delayed and time was wasted.

A patient on a respirator on his way home from the Augusta Victoria (East Jerusalem) hospital was delayed, as well as a month-old babyinfo-icon with a faulty heart sent in an intensive care crate and a physician watching over him to keep him alive. The doctor was not allowed through – “he had coordination papers” – only the baby and his mother.

*If and when Menashe Chai acts on his threat, this will not be my first arrest on his account.