Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Boy Who Caused a Bomb Scare at Qalandia

On Monday, Qalandia check point between Jerusalem and Ramallah was closed off. Completely closed off. No one was even allowed to walk through.

I thought nothing of it at the time, because such is the Israeli occupation of Palestine: utterly unforeseeable, and completely arbitrary.

So my co-worker and I who had been to a meeting in East Jerusalem shrugged our shoulders and walked through the normally closed off passage-way to Al-Ram instead, a suburb to Jerusalem separated from the city by an eight meter high concrete wall.

We tried to approach the Israeli soldiers first, to ask them what was going on, and whether the check point would open anytime soon. But they - not very surprisingly, perhaps - weren't especially cooperative.

In their check point Arabic they yelled, "Eb'ad, eb'ad!" Get away, get away. Always expecting that everybody is out to harm them.

So we did. Get away from them. We walked through the gate they had opened in the wall facing Qalandia check point on the "Israeli" side, and caught a public taxi on the other side.

Confusing? Yes, the wall snakes in such a way so that you can actually stand with your back to Qalandia checkpoint, which is itself an opening in the wall, and face the gate in the wall that leads to Al-Ram.

The gate to Al-Ram, right opposite Qalandia check point

Such is the Zionist separation policy of Israel: it runs parallel with their strategic, geographic vision of a Greater Israel in which all Palestinians are conveniently pushed out of existence with the calculating use of concrete walls, turnstiles, baggage checks and electrified fences.

In any event. Today, my co-worker Sabreen came up to me and told me:

"Ruby, remember when you and the Doctor couldn't go through Qalandia the other day?"


"You know why? My brother's fiancée was there, waiting to go through. There was a woman in front of her, with a small boy, who had barely put their belongings on the conveyor belt to have them x-rayed, before suddenly the place was stormed by Israeli soldiers wearing masks over their faces, holding their weapons, yelling 'Where is the qonbela, where is the qonbela?'"

I interrupted. "What's a qonbela?"

"A bomb," Sabreen said and motioned with her hand how you pull the safety lever off a hand grenade and throw it.

"Oh, " I said. "I see."

"Yes, and the woman in front of my brother's fiancée held her hands up and screamed 'We don't have anything, we don't have anything!'"

She said that the soldiers had told her to shut up, but she had insisted and screamed again that they had nothing with them.

"But the Israeli soldiers closed off the whole check point and held everybody in there for two or three hours to question them," Sabreen said. "And then it turned out that the bag with the woman and the boy did not in fact contain a qonbela." 

"But what?"

"A belt!"

"A belt?"

The boy had put his belt with the bag so he could pass the the metal detector without setting off the alarm. And the belt buckle was shaped as hand grenade.

"Motkhalfeen." Stupid soldiers.

Yes, indeed. But fear breeds stupidity.

The soldiers then told the woman and the child to throw away the belt and never use it again. Because in the world of Israel, a toy grenade in the hands of a Palestinian boy is so much worse than a real grenade in the hands of a Jew.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised they let Palestinians walk around with clothes still. I have no more words to say to describe my feelings toward the israeli people who let their army act like they do. Shame on all of them!