Placement visit in Jerusalem

qalandia3

The men were getting desparate.

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.

man

“We are treated like animals” Gentleman showing us his permit.

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.

It took us 36 minutes to get through the humanitarian line. Typically it should be less than ten minutes.
 No sooner we got back to the placement house then we got a text message about clashes at the checkpoint. Also a message about Palestinian Mahmoud Abdullah Udwan, 21, who was killed at the Qalandiya Refugee camp nearby. See here for the news item.
 After a 10 minute break, I  joined two other members of the Jerusalem team on a walk through the Old City. When we got near the Western Wall and Temple Mount, I decided to visit the Dome since it was still open for tourists. It was impressive but security was tight and my backpack was searched.  Israeli soldiers are everywhere in the old city.
By early afternoon I was back on the bus to Bethlehem and then on to Yatta.

Posted on December 16, 2014, in December. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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4justpeace

Accompaniment in Palestine and Israel

in the West Bank

Life under occupation

A Mosaic For Peace

this blog will describe my journey as an Ecumenical Accompanier with the World Council of Church's Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel from September to December 2011, from February to April 2013, and my volunteer work with the Hebron International Resources Network in 2014 and 2015

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