Stories from Qalandiya: Taxation without Representation

Qalandiya refugee camp, in the occupied West Bank. (Photo: Tamar Fleishman)

By Tamar Fleishman

A few weeks ago, the shops in front of the Qalandiya refugee camp were raided by Israeli forces. Officials from the Jerusalem Municipality and representatives of the tax authorities had arrived without a warning as they were escorted by Israeli police.

According to Israeli law, the Qalandiya Refugee Camp is not included in West Jerusalem’s municipal jurisdiction, therefore its residents do not receive any services. However, Israel still expects the residents to pay taxes and fines.

Eyewitnesses told me that the Israeli forces wreaked havoc in the shops, causing significant damage.

They told the owner of a tiny grocery store that he was not allowed to sell Palestinian cigarettes, but only Israeli brands.

Another seller was fined because Israeli authorities accused him of poor hygiene practices, despite the fact that the man cleans his shop every day.

A third one was fined for accounting irregularities. He was taken for questioning and released hours later, without being found guilty of anything.

One of the victims told me: “For how long can we continue to suffer? What else do they want from us?”

(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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