Saturday, April 08, 2006


I apologize for not writing for long, guys. been really busy.
I admit I'm writing now because I feel so angry and helpless. "Single soldiers' oppression" is not a new issue to me or to any other Palestinian. What I mean by this term is single soldiers deciding -by themselves- whether to allow Palestinians to pass through checkpoints or not.

If you ask any Palestinian about new Israeli army orders concerning passing checkpoints or entering Israel, they would tell you it is all up to soldiers' mood. This might sound like a joke to you, but you would be surprised to find out it is true in most cases.

Here's a story:

On my way back to Jerusalem from Bethlehem two days ago (Thursday, April 6th), I got to the outer (1st) entrance to the Rachel's Tomb Checkpoint (or crossing). Ahead of me in line were a Father, his son, his daughter and her own son. The four were on the way to Hadassa hospital where the mother was staying.

The daughter showed her ID and permit to the soldier, and passed with the little kid. In turn, the father showed his ID (All Palestinian -green- ID's) and permit and was told to pass. The son was asked (in Hebrew, which he doesn't understand) for his own ID, and the father answered (in an English-Arabic mix) that his son was 15, which means he hasn't got an ID yet.

Impatiently, the soldier answered: "Where's your permit?!" when told again that the boy hasn't got one for a person can't get it if he/she hasn't got an ID yet, he told the boy he cannot pass and ordered him to go back.

The father explained that when he went to the Israeli office to get his own permit, he was told that the boy can pass with his father's ID, because he's registered in it. He tried to show his son's name on his ID to the soldier who simply refused to look at it!

Watching all of this, I repeated everything the father has already said in Hebrew for the soldier, in order to avoid any misunderstandings. He answered me with the ULTIMATE answer you hear at checkpoints: "It's impossible". Not explaining why, and only saying it's because the boy has no permit. (dunno about you, but for me he was just like a robot poorly programmed which works only if fed with the narrow information its engineers put in its metal empty head)

When the three of us insisted he was wrong, and repeatedly demanded an explanation for the refusal, the soldier eventually opened the 10cm thick window and asked to see the ID and permit of the father.

Can you guess what happened next?

He succumbed.

And the family passed..

Now, this is not just one rare case. This is the usual thing. And if you find it hard to believe, I want you to come to Palestine and start watching what's going on around you while crossing checkpoints. (because it won't happen to you if you ain't Palestinian)

I believe the only way to fight Single-Soldier-oppression (which is also found in the shape of Group-of-Soldiers-oppression) is for Palestinians to become aware of their rights, aware of the laws and rules, and STAND UP for what they deserve.

Palestinians are terrorized. One type of this terror -found on checkpoints- is not as bloody, not as screaming and therefore not enough tempting for media coverage.

Can you take another story?

Yesterday, I passed through another checkpoint on the tunnels' road (Beit Jala-Jerusalem). When the bus stopped and I saw the commander standing with the usual soldiers, I sensed trouble. He had hatred in his eyes. I'm not trying to be too dramatic, people. and again, if it's too much fiction in your eyes, visit Palestine!

As usual, all the men got off the bus, and stood in line for ID/Passport inspection. My friend Yohan, the sweetest French guy I've ever met, showed his passport and was asked -by the commander of course- what he has been doing in Bethlehem. after this regular question, he was asked whether he has ever been arrested in France, whether he belonged to an anarchist group and other weirdo questions. But of course he passed.

After him stood one 16-year-old Jerusalemite boy (Israeli ID holder) and his 15-year-old brother (Holding a Permit). They were asked questions as wired as this: Who lives on the upper floor in your building? and who is your neighbor on the left?

Now, I don't know how you would feel being yelled at by an armed commander as if you have just killed his mother, but those kids were TERRORIZED. They tried to explain they were telling the truth and the commander insisted they were lying.

The bus driver was told to leave without the kids who were detained for further inspection, and their 5-year-old brother who was with them had to stay there too. I was yelled at too when I tried to explain that this could be the last bus on a Friday evening and these kids would get stuck in the middle of nowhere. And have been told it wasn't my business.

The Israeli army might respond with the following message: "The detained were held until the information they gave was confirmed".

The detained were two young boys, who were asked about their neighbors and answered with what they know.

Maybe after being such a nasty yelling pig, that commander could sleep better last night. Either way, his behavior only shows that the main goal was to make Palestinians' life as unbearable as hell. Maybe after such an experience they would prefer to stay home and never arrive to checkpoints.


At 6:30 AM, Blogger Bet said...

Happened onto your blog. The passion of your cause exceeded all other detours one might make to not blog.
No writer's block in this article.
It is compelling in honesty. One felt the fright of the young children.
The indignity suffered by a family already beset with problems, the mother in hospital. I could see the mental picture and it hit on all emotional levels producing an extreme desire to "do something". Sadly, all one can do is make a comment expressing sorrow at the atrocities that man is doing to his fellowman.This world seems to be spinning deeper and deeper into madness.It is the ones, willing to do anything to have their own way, who are controlling those of us who would have peaceful existence for all.
Please keep presenting those of us who are not there informed of the truth.
Media does not present the incidents such as you describe. My heart goes out to all involved on both sides, who are unaware of their manipulation by those who gain by the strife in this world. Like sheep, we follow the man-hate-man propoganda we are served---no matter the location. It is everywhere.
As long as the common man fights the comman man---it will be the common man who suffers--the working Israli soldier should have been helping the working Palestinian. Both are snared in the trap of the race for Global Power.
Thank you for the portrait you painted.

At 10:24 AM, Blogger Liza said...

It sickens me to read about the disgusting behavior of so many soldiers. Nothing will ever be solved as long as people cannot see that we are all human beings, no matter what "side of the fence" we live on. There is no excuse for the actions of the soldiers. You should be very proud of yourself, both for standing up to the soldiers in defense of others, and for publicizing these events here. Keep up the good, important work.

At 1:00 AM, Blogger Randall said...

Excellent post,The World needs to know.
Peace and best wishes for you..:)

At 8:41 AM, Blogger jerusalemgypsy said...

What about the Israeli human rights group - Machsom Watch - who stand at checkpoints and monitor soldiers' behavior. Are they at this checkpoint ever? It might help if they were.

At 10:05 AM, Blogger fayrouz said...

I think it's a bit hard for them to be at this checkpoint for it's in the middle of a narrow road. it's almost impossible to find a place to stand nearby. first because if you do, you'd actually be standing with the soldiers, and they won't allow it. secondly, they started building the part of the wall which will surround Beit Jala, so even the little space that was there is gone now..

At 3:53 PM, Blogger reynaud said...

In the final analysis silence from the Palestinians about their own recent electoral sea-change which put the Hamas into power tends to sound a little bit like the Arab press throughout the middle east which uses Israel as a foil to deflect attention away from their own dismal political failures. These small stories, while like little Vermeers are briefly interesting, are a distraction. One wonders about the blogs of the future after all the Jews are gone and the Palestinians are left with Hamas sharia-lite or worse, some kind of utterly dysfunctional government which sees every problem as something carbombs and gunfire can solve. Which in and of itself is fine if that's the destiny they've chosen. But who will you blame then?

At 3:49 PM, Anonymous jiwon kim said...

thank you for letting me know about the all happening! hope you're fine.

At 8:26 AM, Blogger Nancy said...

Its nice to see you blogging after a break. I liked the story.

Keep it up!!

This is Nancy from Israeli Uncensored News


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