Qalandiya - after the closure and before Ramadan. Hizma - show of presence
“It’s because there was a holiday”, the medical transport driver explained the large number of people, mostly children and their mothers, in the large bus headed for Gaza.
What I call closure he, not a Jew and obliged to be much more careful, calls a holiday.
The man collected all the IDs and permits and turned them into a package taken (in custody) from their owners for safekeeping until they reach Gaza.
Why custody? For fear that any of them might escape.
And how would any of them escape? Let’s say one of them would need to urinate on the way, and let’s assume – the unlikely – that he be allowed to do it by the side of the road, and let’s say the child and his mother would disembark and begin to run away – then this would keep it from happening…
“This is for Ramadan” a Palestinian explained that which needs no explanation, when the Border Police officers patrolled the area.
“May I ask a question or two?” I turned to them, but they had neither the time nor the will to listen, certainly not to answer, only this: “There will be lightened conditions during Ramadan”, said the senior officer among them.
The Israeli army’s presence in Hizme has long since become a part of the landscape.
The activity which the soldiers call “show of presence” also has the title borrowed from the Israeli army lexicon: “To keep the local population in constant uncertainty”.
At all hours of the day, a manned military vehicle, its engine running, is parked at the entrance to the village, at times just to scare people, and at others while blocking the road.
Either way, towards the day’s end, at sundown, the soldiers enter the village, brakes screeching through the streets and alleys, at times they invade homes and arrest young or less young men, show presence and terrorize everyone there.