Facial Recognition and the Right to Worship in Qalandiya (PHOTOS)

Palestinians at the Qalandiya military checkpoint. (Photo: Tamar Fleishman, The Palestine Chronicle)

By Tamar Fleishman

Thousands of Palestinians, women, men and children, crowded at the Qalandiya checkpoint entrances on the third Friday of Ramadan, many of them hoping to gain access to pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque.  

Armed with their faith and prayer rugs, they bravely faced the Israeli soldiers who tried to block their way. 

The soldiers were carrying guns and their rifle barrels were pointed at Palestinians.

The Israeli soldiers checked every name on their computers. If any Palestinian did not meet the criteria to cross the checkpoint, they were callously sent back.

At some point, I clearly heard one of the Israeli commanders ordering the soldiers to profile Palestinians through facial recognition. 

Due to the crowd, thirst – due to the long fast – and lack of air, several Palestinian women collapsed and fainted.

Fortunately, there were Palestinian first-aid volunteers who provided them with stretchers and wheelchairs.  

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(All Photos: Tamar Fleishman, The Palestine Chronicle)

(Translated by Tal Haran. Edited by Romana Rubeo)

– 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’. Tamar Fleishman is The Palestine Chronicle correspondent at the Qalandiya checkpoint.  
(The Palestine Chronicle is a registered 501(c)3 organization, thus, all donations are tax deductible.)
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