— LuLz Warfare (@LuLzWarfare) May 18, 2012
Today was not the first time I've seen a checkpoint. We usually cross them on our way to west bank protests & back. Driving through with a yellow license plate (Israeli ), is not a big deal. The soldiers sometimes ask for an ID. Smile & wave to us after the blue certificate is handed to them. The whole procedure takes no more than a few seconds. Today was a different experience. I got some of the feeling of what's it like for a Palestinian to cross a checkpoint. I don't know how it is exactly, to a be a Palestinian trying to cross a checkpoint. I know that most of the people I've met in the west bank simply can't cross it, because they have the wrong color of ID (green). In order to go through the mandatory checkout, they must obtain a tasri7, special permit that is only given on special occasions, as for medical treatment, death of a first degree relative or such. I know some students & workers do make their way in and out, but the checkout process is intimidating and can take hours, depriving them from the right to manage their time. But all of this, till today, was just general knowledge. At the moment I don't understand how did I there to call myself occupation objector without knowing even a shred of what Palestinians go through every day.
I ended up at Qalandiya checkpoint when I was trying to make my way on my own to a protest on behalf of the hunger striking prisoners. I got to the designated location, and there was no one there, but two shabab who urged me to go back home and so I did. I thought I could easily catch a service taxi and dodge the surveillance, but there weren't any where I was. I was wearing Hijab because I did not feel comfortable to be the only woman with uncovered hair. The place I was coming from was in territory A- forbidden access to Israelis but usually this is not a problem for possessors of blue ID to hang out there. I asked the locals how do I get back to Jerusalem and I was told that I should go through the checkpoint if I wish to get there. Alarmed, I stepped into a giant paddock, a huge cage of bars & wires. I passed a dirty , neglected waiting hall, I took my spot in a line of people who were quietly & patiently waiting to be checked so they can do their necessary errands. A boy was holding a nyloned paper which I assumed to be his Tasri7. A woman was holding a baby that looked weary and quite miserable. The men seemed utterly depressed. We were being herded, warehouse, like animals. Pictures of concentration camps in Europe flashed in front of my eyes. After a while, it was my turn to be checked. I think I did not take of my hijab because I didn't want to make them go easier on me, because I am a Jewish Israeli. They were not so easy with me. After I presented my blue ID, the female soldier asked me what was I doing in ramallah, did I not know it's forbidden for Israelis to go there. I replied that I needed to buy something there but the answer was obviously not satisfying. I was told to proceed to further examination. I was sent to a small red cell, that had a bad smell. The female soldier kept shouting at me, demanding to know who I was meeting in Ramallah. After a while, two heavily armed soldiers, one of them had a heavy Russian accent, told me to empty my bag & shut up so I won't get on his nerves. From the background I could hear men being shoved and pushed and yelled at. They obtained nothing from searching my bag and luckily my nakba shirt with Fatah slogan on it was ignored. I didn't know what is going to happen to me, and was not told. I was only informed that I might be fined for illegally entering Ramallah. The search ended with nothing, but my captures weren't pleased yet. The male soldiers left the room and I was told to lift my shirt & skirt. I was having my period. I was so scared that they might ask me to take my shorts off. I wanted to ask them why are they doing this to me. Do I look like a terrorist? am I guilty of being a leftist?
I am shocked. I don't know how Palestinians live through this every day. I don't know what human deserves to be treated like that. I can only hope that we will dismantle all walls & checkpoints simply by disobeying the people who create them. That we will refuse to occupy or serve the occupiers. That we will not come to terms with apartheid reality & continue to struggle against it every day, and it will be dismantled, piece by piece, one day at a time.
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A Israel Defense Forces checkpoint,
usually called an Israeli checkpoint (Hebrew: מחסום, machsom, Arabic: حاجز, hajez), is a barrier erected by the Israel Defense Forces with the stated aim of enhancing the security of Israel and Israeli settlements and preventing those who wish to do harm from crossing. Most of the checkpoints in the West Bank are not located on the boundary between Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, but rather throughout the West Bank.
Israeli authorities justified ( the erection of checkpoints) from the beginning of the second Intifada (September 2000) as a temporary military response to violent confrontations and attacks on Israeli civilians, is evolving into "a more permanent system of control" that is steadily reducing the space available for Palestinian growth and movement for the benefit of the increasing Israeli settler population.