Wednesday, December 22, 2010

More Bethlehem Checkpoint Stories

It's almost Christmas and although my boyfriend is a Muslim (albeit non-practising), and I'm not Christian at all, there's no better place to be than Bethlehem this time of the year.

The Christmas lights. The cobble stone streets. The Christmas songs playing in the small olive wood and mother-of-pearl handicraft shops.


One of the side effects of going outside of Ramallah, though, is that you have to pass through a number of Israeli military checkpoints and interact with teenage soldiers on power trips.

We went again the other day, Tarek, Moni and I. This time because there was supposed to be a Christmas Fair at Manger Square.

On our way, two Israeli soldiers and an Israeli police officer stopped our car, and must have seen there was someone in the back seat. The police officer comes up to the car, opens the back door, whereupon well-mannered Moni says,

"Hi!"

And the police officer snaps, "Bye," and slams the door shut.

No "Please roll down the window," (which is actually what they usually ask), or "I will now open your back door."

Just open. Nice hi. Rude bye. And we moved on.

On the way back, it was late at night and Tarek got impatient with the soldiers who were just standing around ignoring us while we know all too well that we can't drive through until they wave an OK.

They have big guns.

So Tarek honked his horn discretely, and we got an immediate reaction. The come-over-here-to-the-side wave.

We drove up and rolled down the windows. Flash light in our faces.

"Men ween enta?" Soldier with basic checkpoint Arabic knowledge. Where are you from?

"Ramallah."

"Tehki Arabi?" Do you speak Arabic?

Yes.

"Mafish zamer fel hajez, kwayes?" There is no honking at the barrier, good?

OK.

"Mafish dukhan, mafish mobail, mafish radio, mafish dow, kwayes?" There are no smokes, there is no mobile, there is no radio, there is no light, good?

OK.

"Yalla." Go.

Another lecture in checkpoint manners. Why? Because they're bored? Because they're little kids who suddenly find themselves with an unimaginable abundance of power and don't know what to do with it?

As if listening to the radio or smoking cigarettes are a security threat. If so; write a sign with instructions, then.

It's not like there is a written checkpoint code that we were violating.

When we got Bethlehem, it turned out that the Christmas Fair people had closed their stalls and gone home.

We ended up eating mandarine and passionfruit sorbet at a new ice cream place instead. Not so Christmassy, but unbelievably delicious.


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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

haha retard kweyes, someone should bitchslapp his mom / best shahata Rev

Ruby said...

A rep from the super secret undercover Shahata Revolution writing comments on my blog?! I am very honored.