Thousands of Palestinians who have entry permits, along with residents of East Jerusalem cut off by the separation wall, must pass through the Israeli military’s Qalandiya checkpoint every morning and evening in order to go to work, school, do shopping, receive medical care and visit family members. The following is a small snapshot of what that means for the individuals forced to endure its humiliation on just one morning.
Photos by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org
Palestinian laborers with work permits issued by the Israeli military, and commuting East Jerusalem residents, including high school students, wait to cross the Qalandiya checkpoint separating the parts of East Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Ramallah from Jerusalem and Israel, in the early hours of February 25, 2016. (Activestills.org)
The various neighborhoods and villages inside East Jerusalem, an area Israel illegally annexed after seizing the West Bank in 1967, are separated by Israel’s eight-meter separation wall. In order to travel for work, shopping, school, medical care, and other daily needs, Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, who are considered permanent residents of Israel, must pass through checkpoints like Qalandiya. February 25, 2016. (Activestills.org)
The Qalandiya checkpoint separates Israeli and Palestinian-controlled areas, it also effectively allowed Israel to abandon neighborhoods of East Jerusalem like Kafr Aqab, which is a part of Jerusalem but today lies on the Palestinian side of the separation wall. Neighborhoods like Kafr Aqab have become no-man’s lands of sorts, with Israeli authorities no longer providing most municipal services, from policing to building inspection to trash collection, but Palestinian authorities are forbidden from operating inside the area that Israel still insists is a part of a ‘united Jerusalem.’ Qalandiya, February 25, 2016. (Activestills.org)
Without the checkpoint, the drive from Jerusalem to Ramallah would take around 20 minutes. Because of the checkpoint, neglected road infrastructure and the traffic they create, the commute between the two cities can take hours. February 25, 2016. (Activestills.org)
The checkpoint is the scene of regular protests that devolve into clashes between stone-throwing Palestinian youths and fully armed Israeli troops. More rarely, it is the target of armed attacks by Palestinians. For many, the checkpoint is very much a symbol of the occupation itself. February 25, 2016. (Activestills.org)
In order to take public transportation from Ramallah to Jerusalem, passengers must take a bus to the checkpoint, disembark, pass through the checkpoint on foot where they are subject to long waits, often humiliating commands barked through intercoms, metal detectors, X-ray machines, and remotely controlled locking turnstiles before boarding a second bus that takes them into Jerusalem. February 25, 2016. (Activestills)
Much of the time spent waiting in Qalandiya checkpoint is spent in narrow lanes that resemble cattle holds. February 25, 2016. (Activestills.org)
Israeli soldiers control turnstiles remotely from behind bullet proof glass. They lock it without warning every few minutes to control the flow of passengers, almost inevitably trapping an unwitting commuter inside, unable to move more than a few inches in each direction until the soldiers push a button and let another handful of people through. February 25, 2016. (Activestills.org)
Thousands upon thousands of people pass through the Qalandiya checkpoint every day in both directions. Jewish settlers coming from the Ramallah area into Jerusalem, on the other hand, have separate checkpoints where traffic flows, almost nobody is asked to exit their vehicles, and cars are rarely inspected. February 25, 2016. (Activestills.org)
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