I've had several favorites - Jalameh (near Jenin, Zababdeh), where I was "detained" for 2 hours, used to be my favorite; then the one near Ariel where every piece of luggage as well as my replacement metal hips were of interest to the soldiers. Now it's Qalandia, the massive checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem. Financed, I understand, by the US government.
|Jean Zaru - wise, hospitable and faithful|
The point in all this is not me. My American passport is my security (for some, I know, it's not). I'm frustrated, inconvenienced, but it all amounts to a good story. But not for my fellow Palestinian passengers. For the 10-15 minutes I was being scanned, no one else could get through. And they waited patiently outside the turnstile. That's in part what bothered me. It was all normal for them. Palestinian workers who enter Jerusalem every morning must add several hours to their trip to arrive at work on time. You never know when some stupid American with metal hips will tie things up.
This has been written of thousands of times. The sense of total domination, control exercised over an occupied people is dehumanizing. The tonal implication of the soldier as he angrily instructed me to go through the second door, not just the first, didn't really bother me. But it is intended to humiliate, degrade. Palestinians defend themselves by displaying no feeling at these encounters. But it all does damage. The comment Rabbi Brian Walt made, when we went through Qalandia together several years ago, echoes. Standing in what for all the world felt like a cattle chute, tears appeared in his eyes, "My God, this is what the Nazis did to us!" Indeed.