By Tamar Fleishman
The thousands of people who arrive at Qalandiya checkpoint and its surroundings each day didn’t hold their breaths when they heard Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement that “unilateral actions by the Palestinians will be responded by unilateral actions”.
What other unilateral actions could the Israeli government take against the Palestinians in a reality in which millions of human beings, from the moment of their birth and until their death, are victims of commands, regulations and laws that enable theft and torture?
When an entire community lives without basic rights, when children and adults can’t control their daily lives, which have been planned out unilaterally by men of power for tens of years?
What other hardships could the rule of occupation put before a man who a week ago, while passing through Qalandiya checkpoint on his way to his place of work (it was his place of work until that day) in east Jerusalem, had his permit confiscated and didn’t have any other choice but to become a peddler and have his elder son as his assistant?
What else can be taken from children who have their childhood stolen from them, in a reality in which each day more children join the more senior peddlers and beggars at that dusty, filthy and noisy place?
What Other Torturous Measures will they inflict on the Tortured?
And what additional “unilateral measures” might be designed by master minds that explained at the petition before the High Court of Justice that the request of the athlete Nader al-Masri, a resident of the Gaza strip, to participate in a competition in the West Bank was denied due to “political and foreign relations considerations“?
But the inconceivable is conceived by the woman beside whom I crossed the checkpoint:
This woman, who was born in Nablus, was married to a resident of Jerusalem and for the past eighteen years lived in her home in Jerusalem with a permit for family unification. She knows that the worst is lurking in every corner and might appear before her at any moment.
She also knows that basic right for a family life might be taken from her coldheartedly, and so she is very careful and silences her husband (who is a resident of Jerusalem) when he becomes angry that they are told to separate at the checkpoint and in spite of her being fifty four years old and of her bad health, she is told to get off the bus and cross through the part of the checkpoint intended for residents of Palestine.
(Translated by Ruth Fleishman.)
– As a member of Machsomwatch, once a week Tamar Fleishman heads out to document the checkpoints between Jerusalem and Ramallah. This documentation (reports, photos and videos) can be found on the organization’s site: www.machsomwatch.org. The majority of the Spotlights (an opinion page) that are published on the site had been written by her. She is also a member of the Coalition of Women for Peace and volunteer in Breaking the Silence. She contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.