A Ladder over the Wall: Why Palestinian Worker Khaled Drags His Leg as He Walks

Israel's Apartheid Wall. (Photo: Tamar Fleishman, The Palestine Chronicle)

By Tamar Fleishman

At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Israeli government issued transit permits to Palestinian construction workers, on the condition that the workers remained at their workplaces without returning to the West Bank.

Khaled held such a permit, but his employee did not provide him with a place to spend the night. 

It was late winter and it was extremely cold at night. Therefore, Khaled was forced to sneak into the West Bank every night and come back to his workplace at dawn.

In a desperate attempt to cross over to the other side, Palestinian workers use a ladder, leaning on the 8-meter-high wall that surrounds the town of Al-Ram, northeast of Jerusalem.

Day after day, week after week, Khaled, who was a hard worker, somehow managed to provide for his family. Alas, one day his life changed forever. 

Before dawn, Khaled climbed the ladder as he did every day, but when he reached the last step, he spotted an Israeli police vehicle emerging out of the dark. The car’s headlights were aimed at him. Then, the driver swayed the vehicle over to the wall, purposefully crashing into the ladder. The ladder was smashed, while Khaled’s body was thrown on the ground.

The policemen left the car and took a quick look at the man’s body lying on the road. They saw the bare bone poking out of the living flesh, but they returned to their jeep and hurried away.

Khaled remained on the ground, agonizing, screaming in pain until some passers-by called an ambulance, which transported him to a Ramallah hospital.

He was in the hospital for months and underwent six surgeries. However, he ran out of money and was forced to leave the hospital before complete healing, against the doctors’ recommendation.

Currently, Khaled drags his leg, has a hard time walking, and every movement is extremely painful for him. Under these circumstances, it is very hard for him to find a job. 

(Photos: Tamar Fleishman, The Palestine Chronicle)

(Translated by Tal Haran)

– As a member of Machsomwatch, Tamar Fleishman documents events at Israeli military checkpoints between Jerusalem and Ramallah. Her reports, photos and videos can be found on the organization’s website: www.machsomwatch.org. She is also a member of the ‘Coalition of Women for Peace’ and a volunteer in ‘Breaking the Silence’. She is a regular contributor to The Palestine Chronicle

(The Palestine Chronicle is a registered 501(c)3 organization, thus, all donations are tax deductible.)

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