That would have been the end of it, except that it happened again. A couple of days later, we were again doing some phoning on behalf of two schoolgirls who had been denied entry. They said this new shift of soldiers was making life difficult. When we finished and I went through the metal detector, the rigmarole started again, it peeping and me removing things. The soldier was the colleague of the one who’d given me a hard time before. When she pointed to the little room, this time I refused. ‘Once, OK, but not twice.’ If I hadn‟t had my EAPPI jacket on I’d have made a big fuss, but on the phone to my coordinator she said she didn’t want to up our project’s profile, so I went back out and round by another checkpoint. But these experiences are good for us because it underlines the sheer arbitrariness that Palestinians face every day, and that makes their lives so intolerable.

In fact, the more we go to this small checkpoint the more we discover that people using it (or not using) have very sad stories. They are typical of what is known as ‘divided families’ whereby husbands and wives have different IDs and cannot live together. Khulood, for instance, used to run a women’s centre in Jerusalem and lived with her husband and four children on the Mount of Olives. When the Wall was built, unlike her husband she was denied a Jerusalem ID because she was born in Jenin although she had studied and worked in Jerusalem since 1989. She now has to live in the West Bank alone. Their children have Jerusalem IDs so go back and forth between their parents. None of it makes any sense, it just destroys lives, and for how long? Saladin, a taxi driver we know is in the same situation. He is on the West Bank, his wife and children in East Jerusalem. He can only spend one day a week with them. Ibrahim Salame is one of 300 people who live on the east side of the Mount of Olives inside the Wall (his family for sixty years) who cannot go more than a street away from their houses without being arrested if caught since they can’t get Jerusalem IDs.

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9