Stories from Qalandiya: Children of the Checkpoint

Two Palestinian children from Samu’a who work with their father as vendors near the Qalandiya Checkpoint. (Photo: Tamar Fleishman, The Palestine Chronicle)

By Tamar Fleishman

From the outside, nobody can fully understand the difficulties and hardship of Palestinian workers who work nearby Israeli military checkpoints.

When they find it difficult to make a livelihood in their towns in the occupied West Bank, they decide to move to these areas, known for pedestrian and vehicle traffic, to sell all sorts of items and make a meager living.

They usually rent a room or a flat in one of the refugee camps located between Ramallah and Qalandiya and they only come back home to their families for the weekend. 

Most of them are committed to their children’s education, but this is not always possible.

“It is better to die than live the way we do,” a Palestinian working near Qalandiya told me. 

“Some of these children do not go to school. They work here at the checkpoint and go home only once a month, or even less, to see their mother and sisters. Is this a life?” he asked.

(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: 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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