‘There is a Crack in Everything’: Why Does Israel Build Checkpoints

Qalandiya military checkpoint. (Photo: Tamar Fleishman, The Palestine Chronicle)

By Tamar Fleishman

The Israeli military Qalandiya checkpoint was not designed randomly, but according to an ideology and with a purpose. It was meant to strengthen the occupier’s control over the oppressed, occupied Palestinian population. 

No one coming or going to and from Palestine can evade this mighty bridge.

Palestinians must climb and walk hundreds of meters to cross a distance that, in actuality, can be measured by only a few meters.

An acquaintance living in the nearby Qalandiya refugee camp told me about the hardship and difficulties faced by Palestinian elderly, by the disabled, and by Palestinian mothers carrying their toddlers or pushing strollers. At some point, my friend asked, rhetorically: “Couldn’t the Israelis arrange for one, single, elevator?,” before answering himself, “Of course not, because Zionists don’t care about people.” 

Until recently, the crossing was a narrow corridor flanked on both sides by concrete blocks, which Palestinian youngsters used to lift themselves over the concrete and jump into the track from there, to save some time.

Now, this is not possible anymore. The Israeli authorities erected a metal railing above the concrete blocks, which touches the ceiling. 

Furthermore, they sealed a small opening that Palestinians had created in the fence surrounding the checkpoint, in order to spare themselves a long walk.

But no matter how many planks and metal rods the Israeli army added to the structure, the human spirit is never discouraged or defeated. Some brave Palestinians still manage to squirm their way in and jump over, even if they are perfectly aware that everything – literally everything – is photographed and that there will be consequences for their action.

“Why do they care about a hole in the fence?” asked a man who was standing next to me, waiting. “Why should they care if a poor man, who is working hard all day at a construction site, wants to avoid a long walk home?”

The truth is, they care. And the man, like me, knows that very well.

However, I am persuaded that Leonard Cohen was right when he used to sing: 

There is a crack in everything

That’s how the light gets in.

 (Translated from Hebrew by Tal Haran)

(All Photos: Tamar Fleishman, The Palestine Chronicle)

– 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.


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