I spent the first Friday of Ramadan at the Israeli military checkpoint of Qalandiya.
Despite earlier claims by a spokesman for the Israeli military that Israel will be easing restrictions on Palestinians during the holy month, in reality, nothing has changed. The soldiers behaved exactly as they did before – rude, inhumane and aggressive.
Yet the restrictions that were meant to block Palestinians from traveling within their own cities and from reaching Al-Aqsa Mosque in Occupied East Jerusalem for prayer did not prevent a seemingly endless stream of people from trying anyway.
Racist comments made by Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, on March 19, that “there is no such thing as a Palestinian people” didn’t seem to matter here. They do exist – worship, resist, live, and love as they have done for many generations.
Of the numerous touching scenes at the checkpoint, a particular one remained with me: a little boy who broke into tears because Israeli soldiers wouldn’t allow him and his family to reach Al-Aqsa for prayer.
(Translated by Tal Haran, Edited by The Palestine Chronicle)
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