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A Palestinian Writes
Last uploaded : Wednesday 31st Jul 2002 at 22:55
Contributed by : Sam Bahour


Dear friends,

I pass this article to you after spending earlier in the day two plus hours at the Kalandia checkpoint (between Jerusalem and Ramallah). I spent last night in Jerusalem with an Aunt that had a heart attack and was rushed to a Palestinian hospital there 2 nights ago. As I waited to re-enter Ramallah today before our daily curfew was re-imposed I stood in line with about 100 others waiting to enter pass the Israeli soldiers. Today was extremely hot, over 100 degrees, and I just stared at the babies in strollers and elderly people that just barely were able to even stand in line. It is hard to
believe that this line has become a daly routine for many. Those waiting looked numb to the abuse that this routine really is.

Then the Israelis soldiers, 3 of the worse I've seen in a long time, decided that the line must move back before they continue checking each person, one by one. The 3 just pulled up chairs, sat, and started laughing and joking at us, why we would not move back. It was so packed we could'nt, but that meant nothing to them. One
soldier came to the front of the 2 person line (which was by now 6 persons wide) and started yelling in a hand-held public address speaker. He put the speaker in the ears of people and yelled in Hebrew, BACK!. He did this in the most provocative way possible.

When he came to a 25-30 year old man next to me and did the same, the man pushed the speaker away. This triggered a shouting match and then another soldier joined and the young man was
hauled away while being hit with a billy club on the head. I have no idea where he ended up.

An hour after that another bearded Palestinian man worked his way to the front of the line to yelled out to the soldiers that it was hot and
he demanded that the women and children be allowed to pass. The soldier made a smart remark in Hebrew and the two got into a shouting match in Hebrew. This Palestinian had a Jerusalem ID and was defiant. He was screaming to the soldier that if he took pleasure in seeing small kids and babies sweat in the line that he should not be serving his country...they went on and on for more than 15 minutes while standing 20 meters apart. Then the soldier flipped out, rushed to the man (who had about 100 people behind him) and cocked his rifle while threatening to shoot him. A second Ethiopian Soldier soldier did the same.

At this tense moment we were able to convince the Palestinian man to back down for the sake of the others who had to pass into Ramallah before the curfew. In the line were 2 German women and when this guy backed into the line he started discussing with them in fluent German.

Interestingly, the man looked at the crowd and said "they think those of us he challenge them are crazy, I speak 5 languages and us 100, no, the children alone amongst us 100, have more humanity than the entire IDF. They must be challenged."

It took another 30 minutes before things settled down and the line started moving again, one by one. We let all the women pass first and them the men lined up to pass. As soon as I was allowed to pass I heard a lot of yelling again. I looked back before making the 300m walk to the other side of the checkpoint and the soldiers had
just gotten word that a bombing happened in Jerusalem. They moved barbed wire in front of the line and told everyone that no one else would enter Ramallah today. There was a tremendous amount of yelling as I rushed to get to the other side.

Reading the above article [by Yitzhak Frankenthal]tonight, puts the above day a to day humiliation in perspective. Tomorrow I will try to speak in person to this Israeli and thank him for his understanding of our reality. I can only wish others would see the occupation in person so they can gain insight into why so many Palestinians are today equalling life to death.



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