Have Our Senses Dwindled?

By Tamar Fleishman

At the break of dawn of every Friday during the Ramadan month world orders change. From that moment on the laws that regulate the occupation at Qalandiya all these years, every day of the year, that define a person’s "validity", that create a profile with which it is decided whether or not he is a threat- are replaced. Different laws and rules, different in essence and in source, take their place for several hours.

Usually the highest authorities decide whether a person is granted or prevented passages at the checkpoint are the unseen representatives of the secret services. During these four half days the date of birth on a person’s ID is the only clearance factor.

Any other day of the year the individual must trouble himself to arrive at the gates’ of the authorities, wait for hours in endless lines, hand in a request explaining the reasons why he would like to be granted a permit (Tasrih), after all it is unthinkable that someone might pass Qalandiya checkpoint on a simple whim. Only after being inspected and coming out "clear", according to their judgment, that is: if it is found that no relative of his has been accused/ arrested/ taken for investigation or either accidently or intentionally injured by military forces, and he himself is not found to be a devious schemer, only then will he be granted an authorized and signed permit.

And then suddenly, during these half days, when an elder hand exhibits before the military man standing at one of the gates of the checkpoint, an open ID that proves his age, the person will pass the imaginary border and enter Jerusalem. 

But as secret services narrow the criterions that define whether elder pose any threats, it appears that the Palestinian children only grow more dangerous. 

Usually a Palestinian child is granted permission to pass when escorted by a relative and a birth certificate (Kushan), proving that he has yet to turn 16 (the age when he ceases to be a juvenile). During these days, it would be unthinkable to grant a boy or a girl over 12 years of age, permission to pass.  

Perhaps it is due to exhaustion and adaptation that everyone accepts this.

In view of the innate contradictions between these passage rules and the ones implemented on other days, one cannot but notice that those who are responsible for the harsh restrictions well as for these temporal reliefs, aren’t asked to give any answers regarding the reasons for this drastic change in the categories defining this large population as a threat, and whether there is a necessity to use the restrictions all days of the year. 

But the facts show that none of the relevant active individuals- the ones executing this policy at the checkpoint, the victims of this system- nor the passive individuals- that observe, document and report, are not confronting neither the heads of this system nor the policy makers regarding this awful dissonance arising from the paradox of the policy change that had been described herein. After all, it’s not possible nor should it be accepted or ignored that an entire population is categorized as a ticking bomb.

Have our senses dwindled?

(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. 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.

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