By Tamar Fleishman – Qalandiya, West Bank
A sick child is a sick child.
A child discharged from hospital after surgery is in need of rest.
But this trivial equation doesn’t work in a reality of occupation.
Omar, a seven year old child who had been discharged from hospital some hours earlier after undergoing surgery and while is body was still full of anesthetics, collapsed on the metal bench at the shed in front of the DCL offices at Qalandiya checkpoint.
It was very cold as the day turned into evening. Omar’s father took his leather coat off and wrapped it over his son. Omar didn’t open his eyes. Neither the healthy eye nor the one that was swollen from the surgery. He kept sleeping. He seemed to be in a state between sleep and loss of consciousness.
The father walked around the yard restless, he still had to get inside the offices, request a permit, head back to Gaza and arrive there, at Erez checkpoint, before it is closed. What if they don’t make it? Who could even imagine?
In front of the offices were many people with many problems. Problems like his and other ones. There was a lot of yelling and pushing. And the doubt that was gnawing at him as well as the concern for the sleeping child, and the necessity to stay by him prevented the father from moving from what should have been his son’s bed, but in reality was a cold red and alienating bench.
And when finally they called his name, he couldn’t wake Omar to take him inside. He wouldn’t leave him all alone to sleep on the bench. After all, who other than him would take care of the child?- he forsook the responsibilityof handling the permits and left it in the hands of two women who were strangers to him, he also gave them Omar’s birth certificate which was needed for the permit.
– A Palestinian child must never part from his birth certificate, his Kushan. A copy or a duplicate won’t do, only the original document.
But there was an oversight- “it happens, it’s a matter of dis-coordination”, said the soldier.
Yes, oversights happen, oversights may happen, but the fact that a seven year old child has to be granted a permit after undergoing surgery in order to get home- is no oversight, it is a policy.
And even once they overcame the oversight and once the father managed to wake his son, and even after Omar and his father headed on their way, the fact remains that a child is a child and that such regulations are nothing less than a crime.
(Translated by Ruth Fleishman.)
– As a member of Machsomwatch, once a week Tamar Fleishman heads out to document the checkpoints between Jerusalem and Ramallah. This documentation (reports, photos and videos) can be found on the organization’s site: www.machsomwatch.org. The majority of the Spotlights (an opinion page) that are published on the site had been written by her. She is also a member of the Coalition of Women for Peace and volunteer in Breaking the Silence. She contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.