By Tamar Fleishman
I spent the first Friday of Ramadan at the Israeli military checkpoint in Qalandiya.
Despite earlier claims by a spokesman for the Israeli military that Israel will ease restrictions on Palestinians during the holy month, in reality, nothing has changed. The soldiers behaved exactly as they had done before – rude, inhumane and aggressive.
But the restrictions meant to prevent Palestinians from traveling within their own cities and from reaching the Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem to prevent prayer in a seemingly endless stream of people from attempting any custom.
Racist comments made by Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, on March 19, that “there is no such thing as the Palestinian people” seemed to be irrelevant here. There they are – worshiping, resisting, living, and loving as they have done for many generations.
Of the many sad scenes at the checkpoint, one particular one stayed with me: a little boy who broke down in tears because the Israeli soldiers would not allow him and his family to reach Al-Aqsa for prayer.
(Translated by Tal Haran, edited by The Palestine Chronicle)
– As a member of Machsomwatch, Tamar Fleishman records events at Israeli military checkpoints between Jerusalem and Ramallah. Her reports, photos and videos can be found on the organization’s website: www.machsomwatch.org. She is also a member of the ‘Coalition of Women for Peace’ and a volunteer in ‘Breaking the Silence’. Tamar Fleishman is The Palestine Chronicle’s correspondent at the Qalandiya checkpoint.