No Men Allowed: A Daughter, a Mother and a Heap of Papers at Qalandiya

A Palestinian cancer patient at the Qalandiya military checkpoint. (Photo: Tamar Fleishman, The Palestine Chronicle)

By Tamar Fleishman

I thought of all of these patients who have died across checkpoints and walls, without saying goodbye to their loved ones. 

The Palestinian woman was on a stretcher. 

She looked helpless, motionless, covered by blankets up to her neck.

Her whole body was strapped to the old stretcher. She seemed disconnected from her surroundings – an illness that is eating her body inside, and armed Israeli soldiers barking orders and denying her freedom outside. 

This was the scene at the Qalandiya military checkpoint, separating Ramallah from Jerusalem. 

I kept looking at her. “This is a cancer patient,” the Palestinian paramedic told me. 

It was a very hot day. The sun was merciless. But the woman’s face looked so pale, as if it was carved in ice. 

The patient’s mother slowly approached the Israeli soldiers to show them the IDs and the transit documents she had carefully prepared. 

She intuitively opened her bags, to prove to the soldiers that neither she, nor her daughter were carrying anything ‘dangerous’.

At Qalandiya,no one is spared the long wait, the humiliation or the unreasonable expectations of the military, not even terminally ill patients, desperate to reach a hospital beyond Israel’s apartheid wall. 

And only females are allowed to accompany sick family members. Fathers, husbands and brothers are simply not allowed, because Israel’s so-called ‘security’ system perceives every Palestinian male as a ‘terrorist’ or, at best, a potential ‘terrorist.’ 

I thought of all of these patients who have died across checkpoints and walls, without saying goodbye to their loved ones. 

This is racism at work. 

The old mother continued to nervously produce yet more papers, while her daughter remained on the stretcher as her fate was being determined by young Israeli soldiers with guns. 

(Translated by Tal Haran. Edited by Palestine Chronicle Staff)

– 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: 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.


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