Placement visit in Jerusalem
On Monday, I once again went to Jerusalem to join the team there and learn of some of their work. In the evening, two of the team members and I went to a book launch. It generated some interesting discussion on the makeup of Israeli society and the need to work of full civil rights of all residents including Palestinians.
In the morning, Debbie, Jane and I got up early to be at the Qalandiya checkpoint for 4:15. After about an hour and a half, things got bad. The lines were not moving. The men were in danger of missing a day’s work and perhaps getting fired. Even the humanitarian line was not open or just one person got through at a time. The humanitarian line is for women, elderly and school children. Imagine school children not getting through and missing their bus on the other side. Also the parents cannot go with the children.
The line got longer and extended out of the building. Debbie phoned Sylvia from Machsom Watch to see if she could make some calls to open the lines up. Sylvia is an Israeli activist and often monitors the checkpoints. We could have used their presence this morning.
Debbie got worried and thought it best to leave. She felt that a clash would happen. We then got into the humanitarian line. One gentleman said that they are treated as animals. He was born in Jerusalem and now lives in Ramallah. Why should he have to go through a checkpoint? He pointed out that some soldiers were obviously immigrants and here he is, born in Jerusalem and they are asking him for his permit. He feels striped of all dignity. There was also a teacher who worked at the school for the blind. She too would be very late.