Qalandiya - the small children do not have permits and the whole family returns home disappointed

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Chana Stein (translating), Ronit Dahan-Ramati (reporting and pictures)

A particularly quiet morning at the Qalandiya checkpoint, on the first day of Eid al-Adha (the Feast of the Sacrifice). We arrived at about a quarter to six. We passed by car and parked in the private parking lot on the Palestinian side. As expected, everything is quiet and calm, since it is a holiday and few go to work. Even at the vehicle checkpoint, the traffic is light. Abu Ramzi, our friend who sells pretzels, did not come, of course, and neither did the stand selling falafel and various foods, which recently operated from a commercial vehicle. The regular kiosk is also closed. There is no public transport. Everything is quiet. There was only a sound from the nearby mosque. At first we thought it was a muazzin calling for prayer, but later it seemed that the entire prayer was being played over loudspeakers for the holiday.

Here and there people greet each other and we respond with a "happy holiday". There are people coming out of the checkpoint from the side: we saw some men and also a group of women. Later it turned out that they were people who were probably sent back and were not allowed to pass. For example, there was a young family, a father and mother with a daughter and a son dressed festively. The girl wore a white dress with ruffles and held a gift in her hand. We blessed them with "Eid Said" (Happy Holiday), But the father answered us, "Eid Harban". It turns out that they were not allowed to pass, even though the father and mother had permits. But the two small children do not have permits, and there must be order, so they did not let them pass. They ruined the holiday for the little ones, the father complained. And we wondered who was in charge The person in charge, who apparently has no heart, decided to return the festive family. Do these little children pose any risk to anyone? Is judgment from high and one can't exercise one's own judgement? Now they have been returned in disgrace and will forever remember the disappointment and the malice of the conqueror's heart that did this to them.

We stayed there for about half an hour, the traffic was sparse and some of the people clearly did not want to go to work. We decided to use the time to drive to see the roads being built around. We headed towards Ar-Ram (east) and in the new square we went up the road to the top of the hill and drove through an opening in the newly built wall. The road leads to the back of the checkpoint and to the western side of Ar-Ram, which is separated from eastern Jerusalem, which is annexed by the wall. We turned back and took pictures from there towards the east of the road that currently exists (which is a new section, after the previous route was blocked for the purpose of the works) and a section that is under construction and, if we understood correctly, will go over the underpass.

Then we returned again through the opening in the wall at the top of the hill, we moved a little further to the east and photographed from the other direction what looks like an entrance to the underpass area.

In the next square, on the right, the "Ottoman Palace" was built: a new and impressive building that serves as a banquet hall. The upper floor looks as if its construction is not finished [perhaps allowing for an extra floor later], but the taxi driver that Chana usually travels with has already said that he was at a wedding there, probably on the lower floor.

From there we turned around the square and returned towards Qalandiya. This time, thanks to the sparse traffic due to the holiday, we passed with the vehicles at the Qalandiya checkpoint without any delay. The way back to the city was also quick, because due to the early hour, the morning traffic had not yet started.