Tens of thousands of Palestinian women and men over 40 make their way to Qalandiya checkpoint to cross over to Jerusalem in honor of the second Friday of Ramadan. Those who aren’t allowed to cross? They found their own way.
Photos and text by Oren Ziv / Activestills.org
Dozens of young Palestinians crossed Qalandiya checkpoint Friday morning in order to make it to the second Friday prayer of Ramadan at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
Since Israel allows only men above 40 to cross the checkpoint, dozens of young Palestinians attempted to climb the separation wall and reach Jerusalem using ladders which they leaned on the eight-foot tall wall. “We don’t need any permits from the army, we just cross to Jerusalem by ourselves,” said one young man from Jenin.
But the clever strategy only worked for a few minutes. Soldiers and policemen arrived on the scene, and many of the men who waited patiently for their turn to climb went home disappointed.
Hundreds of buses brought men, women and small children to the Qalandiya checkpoint starting at 4 a.m on Friday morning. There they were dropped off and cross over to Jerusalem on their way to the mosque. Throughout the year, Palestinians are required to obtain special permits in order to ender Israel. During Ramadan, however, women of all ages and men above 40 are allowed into Israel without any permits.
The Qalandiya checkpoint has one crossing for women and children, and another for men, who undergo a more rigorous search. Some of the women used their time waiting in line to snap photos with the separation wall in the background.
Meanwhile, at the Bethlehem checkpoint the number of people who wanted to enter Jerusalem was so large that the soldiers at the checkpoint were unable to check everyone entering; hundreds simply ran toward Jerusalem. Soldiers searched East Jerusalem’s Gilo neighborhood, near the checkpoint, checking vehicles and passersby in an attempt to find those who entered without permits.