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PHOTOS: What it's like to ‘commute’ through an Israeli army checkpoint

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, as well as high school students, wait to cross the Qalandiya checkpoint separating the West Bank city of Ramallah and Jerusalem, in the early hours of Febuary 25, 2016. (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 the 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 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)

Qalandiya, West Bank, 25.2.2016

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, however, the commute between the two cities can take hours. (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. The checkpoint is very much a symbol of the occupation itself. (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.

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, fenced lanes that resemble cattle holds. (Activestills.org)

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 the turnstiles remotely from behind bullet proof glass. When they lock it every few minutes to control the flow of passengers, someone is almost always trapped inside, unable to move more than a few inches in each direction until the soldiers let another handful of people through. (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. (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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    1. Carmen

      The humanity forced through turnstills and through what looks exactly like animal holding pens to the sadistic amusement of the IOF. Many thanks to Activestills for the much-needed photodocumentary evidence that will be gathered along with eyewitness testimony to be used in prosecuting the zionist state in world court for crimes against humanity.

      Am Yisrael Chai – at the expense of the Palestinian people, that they continue to pay in land and blood!

      Reply to Comment
      • Baer

        It’s obvious that the Occupation is Israel’s failure to create a normal and ethical Jewish society.

        Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        So long as Arab beasts continue to do this to innocent Israeli civilians, and refuse to sign a peace deal with us, we will continue to treat them like beasts.

        “Two Israeli women were stabbed while walking outside of a market in their village. After attacking the women the terrorists, aged 17 and 23, tried to enter the market but were stopped by employees who used shopping carts to block the market entrance. The terrorists were also carrying homemade pipe-bombs and other explosive devices at the time of the attack. One of the victims, 24-year old Shlomit Krigman, died of her wounds the following morning.”

        Hey the Arabs want to continue their 100 year war against us? We have the right to curb them by whatever means which slows them down. They don’t like it? Stop the war!!!

        Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          “refuse to sign a peace deal with us”

          Gustav’s peculiar all-purpose evasion. Tirelessly repeated.

          This is not the behavior of peace deal seekers:

          http://972mag.com/shhhhhh-were-annexing/117421/

          Who are you kidding? These are people who refuse to sign a peace deal.

          Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          By the way, just for the record, what the article you cite calls “their village” is actually an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank and the person murdered was a settler, raised in Shadmot Mehola. Now you want to call this person simply “an innocent Israeli civilian.” End of story. Fine. But let us look a little closer at Shadmot Mehola and its neighbors.

          Arif Daraghmeh, Mayor of the nearby Palestinian village of Maleh, described the situation his villagers face:

          “Water pipes for settlers sometimes run five feet from our homes, but we are not allowed to have even one cup,” said Arif Daraghmeh, the mayor of Maleh and head of a regional council representing about 3,000 Palestinians living in the northern Jordan Valley.

          He says his family has lived in tiny Maleh for three generations, but Israel won’t permit permanent structures, forcing most residents to live in tents or mud-brick homes.

          Over the last two years, the number of demolition orders and evictions has soared, he said, while previously the community was largely ignored by Israel.

          Just a few miles away is the Israeli settlement of Shadmot Mehola, a modern fenced community with red-roofed, two-story homes, street lamps and playgrounds. “They have everything and we get nothing,” Daraghmeh said.

          http://articles.latimes.com/2013/may/18/world/la-fg-west-bank-area-20130519

          Please read about the treatment of Palestinians in Area C described in the rest of the article. Innocent Israeli civilians? That’s the whole story? That describes all of what is going on? Not by a long shot.

          Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Benny pretends that his Arabs want peace but we don’t.

            Even if he would be right that our current Government does not want peace (which is untrue), but even then, we had previous governments who are on the record of offering peace deals. Governments like Olmert, Ehud Barak, Rabin and Peres. At no stage did Benny’s Palestinians agree to make peace. Moreover, to take a leaf out of Benny’s book, let me ask his question back to him…

            Is this the behavior of a people who want peace….???

            “An Israeli father and his 18-year old son were killed after two Palestinians opened-fire into their vehicle as they were driving. The mother of the family was shot as well but lightly wounded, a second son was slightly injured, and the family’s three daughters who had been riding in the back were unharmed. Allegedly the first ambulance to arrive on scene was a Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance, and after the driver realized that the victims were Jews the ambulance drove away”

            This is just one of tens of thousands of attacks by Palestinian Arabs against Jewish Palestinians/Israelis in the last 100 years.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Hotoveli: “Judea and Samaria aren’t even on the list of options we’re offering the Palestinians…It’s not a bargaining chip. It does not depend on the Palestinians’ goodwill. It’s the land of our forefathers. We don’t intend to evacuate it.”

            These are NOT people who want to sign a peace deal. Who are you kidding?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            The occupation consists of tens of thousands of attacks against Palestinians in the past 49 years. The Nakba before that involved tens of thousands of attacks on Palestinians. But since 1967 Israel has committed terrible violence on a massive scale. The violence indisputably runs both ways. And as Breaking the Silence’s Yehuda Shaul shows, and you can’t cover up, the Israeli violence is overwhelmingly offensive not defensive. You never seem to understand this. It’s part of your Good Jews/Bad Arabs mythology. I notice you entirely skirted the substance about Shadmot Mehola and Maleh. “Move along folks nothing to see here. Now about the 100 years war and the Very Bad Arabs and the good, innocent Israeli civilians….”

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            “offering peace deals…at no stage did the Palestinians agree…”
            This is sophomoric fiction. No “deal” was “offered.” Terms were discussed that were unacceptable and negotiations did not progress. At no stage did “the Israelis” agree either on “a deal.” Peace is not something the Israelis bestow as a gift upon ungrateful Palestinians.

            “Years later Barak’s top advisors would come to lament the role they played in creating that spin. As Peter Beinart notes in his book, The Crisis of Zionism, Barak aide Tal Ziberstein admitted that the “no-partner” campaign was one of the things he regretted most. Eldad Yaniv, Barak’s former campaign adviser and well known politico who has worked closely with politicians of all stripes added: “Ten years later, there are still people who say, ‘We gave them everything at Camp David and got nothing.’ That is a flagrant lie… I was one of the people behind this false and miserable spin.”

            Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          So what if someone said “So long as Jewish beasts continue to do this to innocent Palestinian civilians, and refuse to sign a peace deal with us, we will continue to treat them like beasts”? Why would that statement not be as justified as your statement? And would you consider that statement they made an anti-Semitic statement? And if you would, why is your statement not anti-(Arab)Semitic? And why is your relentless casting of ‘The Good Jews’ versus ‘The Bad Arabs’ in this context not a relentless distortion? And why is it not racist?

          Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            BEN:”So what if someone said “So long as Jewish beasts continue to do this to innocent Palestinian civilians”

            LOL. Someone?

            You are saying it about us every single day in just about all the posts that you post here, Benny.

            So how does it feel the other way around? You seem to be gnashing your teeth, Benny-leh.

            Reply to Comment
          • Carmen

            1. They started it!
            2. 100 year war that your precious Arabs started!
            3. Blah, blah, blah, Jewish homeland, blah, blah, blah, God gave it to us, blah, blah, blah.
            4. “Khamas!”
            5. Because they refuse to make peace!
            6. They have a culture of death!
            7. We love our children more!
            8. We’re better than they are!
            9. What about Saudi Arabia, ISIS!!, Syria?
            10. Am Yisrael Chai. (Tell us something we haven’t heard. And it’s only been 70 years of rape, murder and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.) Sheesh, what’s not to love about that?
            11. We will defend ourselves with all the weapons of mass destruction, I mean self-preservation, you know Am Yisrael Chai, etc., made available to us thanks to our dear uncle sammy and auntie angela. We absolutely need those M16s, Merkavas, Apache helicopters, nuclear subs and drones to fight the great scissor/knife/rock fight. (Or to teach a lesson to any Arab they better STFU and quit assembling peacefully to protest, if they’re partial to their eyes, ears, brain and limbs.)
            12. ANTISEMITISM.

            Roll up with the whataboutery! Watch this space. See if Ben’s questions are ever answered at all without using any variation of the above canned hasbara excuses. I’ve only listed a few because, well, there’s just too damn many!

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Idiot.

            Which bit of they started it and they are continuing it is difficult for you to understand?

            Do you turn the other cheek, Benny, er, um, sorry, Carmen? Just look at you in here. Someone is rude to you so you are rude back. This is just a talk-fest in here but instead of being polite to people who are rude to you, you are rude back.

            So what do you expect us to do if your Arabs randomly murder our covilians? What would you do if some morons would actually kill your kids, your brothers, your sisters, your friends? Would you kiss their arse, Carmen?

            What would you do to peopke who do this if you were on the receiving end…?

            “Two Israeli Jews were stabbed to death and two seriously injured by a 39-year old Palestinian from the West Bank, who was apprehended at the scene and taken to an Israeli hospital with minor injuries. The stabbing attack took place at the entrance to the synagogue next to the Panorama office building in Southern Tel Aviv, as afternoon prayers were going on.”

            Reply to Comment
          • Carmen

            “The Cave of the Patriarchs massacre, also known as the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre or Hebron massacre,[1] was a shooting massacre carried out by American-Israeli Baruch Goldstein, also a member of the far-right Israeli Kach movement. On February 25, 1994, Goldstein opened fire on a large number of Palestinian Muslims who had gathered to pray inside the Ibrahimi Mosque (also Mosque of Abraham), at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, West Bank. It took place on February 25, 1994, during the overlapping religious holidays of both Jewish Purim and Muslim Ramadan.[2][3] The attack left 29 people dead and 125 wounded.[4] Goldstein was only stopped after he was overpowered and beaten to death by survivors.

            The massacre immediately set off mass Palestinian protests and riots throughout the West Bank, and within 48 hours, nine Palestinian protesters had been killed by the Israeli Defense Forces.[5] Goldstein was widely denounced in Israel and by communities in the Jewish diaspora,[6] with many attributing his act to insanity.[7] Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin condemned the attack, describing Goldstein as a “degenerate murderer”, “a shame on Zionism and an embarrassment to Judaism”.[8][9][10] Some Jewish settlers in Hebron laud him as a hero and view his attack and subsequent death as an act of martyrdom.[11]”

            “Commenters on the conflict often speak of the grave of Baruch Goldstein, the Jewish extremist who gunned down 29 Muslims inside the Mosque of Ibrahim in Hebron in 1994. Jeff Klein recently visited the grave. This account appeared on his site, At a slight angle to the universe, on June 22.

            On a hillside in the settlement of Kiryat Arba, overlooking the large West Bank Palestinian city of al-Khalil — known to Israeli Jews and most foreigners by its biblical name of “Hebron” – is the grave monument of Dr. Baruch Goldstein.

            On the Jewish holiday of Purim, February 25, 1994, Goldstein, then a reserve officer in the Israeli army, walked into the Mosque of Ibrahim (the traditional burial place of the Patriarch Abraham) in uniform and with his army-issued weapon, opening fire on the Muslim worshippers. 29 people were murdered outright and 125 wounded before the survivors managed to disarm Goldstein and kill him on the spot.

            For many far-right Israeli Jews and especially the settler movement Goldstein was a martyr to the cause of religious Zionism. His grave in a ceremonial plaza overlooking the Palestinian town became a place of pilgrimage and celebration – to the great embarrassment of the Israeli government and many of its supporters in the US.

            The ceremonial plaza around the grave was ordered dismantled, but the park and monumental walkway leading up to his grave remain in place. The park is dedicated to Meir Kahane, the US-born rabbi who was a founder of the violent Jewish Defense League and later the leader of the fascist Kach party — which was so openly racist that it was eventually banned in Israel. Kahane was assassinated in New York in 1990, but today you can still find stickers and graffiti around Israel with the slogan “Kahane Lives” or in English “Kahane Was Right!”
            – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2013/07/murderer-baruch-goldstein/#sthash.zi9GjmeQ.dpuf

            Baruch Goldstein, a murderous beast, right?

            Why are Jewish lives held in greater esteem than the lives of “the other”? Why are dead Jews referred to as “saints” and “innocents” (when they live in settlements?) and dead Palestinians are animals that needed to be put down and there is a great jubilation with their deaths and a thirst for more?

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            These Arab apologists just love Goldstein, don’t they? If he wouldn’t have existed, they would have invented him. Now here is a true perspective…

            Goldstein was one extremist. He was a doctor who reacted to acts of Arab terrorism after he saw the string Israeli victims of terror, some of whom he was treating. It was the period immediately after the Oslo accords were signed and instead of Arab terrorism slowing down, terrorism against Israeli Jewish civilians escalated. Rabin’s reaction to that was his saying… “we will fight Arab terrorism as if there is no peace and we will fight for peace as if there is no terror”

            Goldstein wasn’t as tolerant. He snapped and took matters into his own hands. He retaliated by doing to the Arabs what the Arabs have been doing to us for nearly 100 years now.

            Goldstein was one man who did what he did in 1994. The Arabs produced thousands of Goldsteins before Goldstein and after him. The fact that the Carmens of this world have to go back to 1994 and conjure him up to counteract the list of Arab Goldsteins who are active today is indicative of the asymmetry between the Arab culture of violence and how ordinary Israelis behave in the face of extreme Arab provocations. Very few other cultures would be as tolerant to Arab terrorism against us. Just ask the Muslims of the Balkans how they were treated by the Serbs after their extremists provoked the Serbs.

            Reply to Comment
          • Carmen

            There’s no need to make anything up. “Goldstein wasn’t as tolerant. He snapped and took matters into his own hands. He retaliated by doing to the Arabs what the Arabs have been doing to us for nearly 100 years now.”

            Goldstein is a product of zionist upbringing. When was he radicalized? Probably very shortly after becoming a citizen. You still want to keep that line about 100 years? This was hardly a one-sided conflict. It became worse the more the Palestinians understood what the zionists had in mind for them and their land. Please stop pretending some Palestinians just up and decided to start killing zionists without any provocation. You minimize his actions and claim “he wasn’t as tolerant”. Neither was Hitler.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Whenever the Carmens or Bennies are confronted with unpalatable facts they either deny those facts or try to blur the edges.

            FACT:
            This war was started by the Arabs nearly 100 years ago. They started it because they were against the idea of the Jewish state. They started this war. We did not want this war but we could not ignore it. If someone makes war on one then normal people respond with war for war. And here is the crunch. Not only did the Arabs start this war but they refuse to end it. That is why the occupation happened and that is why the occupation continues.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            CARMEN:”Goldstein is a product of Zionist upbringing”

            What about Arab upbringing? May I remind you deary what the score is….?

            The Arabs produced thousands of Arab Goldsteins before Goldstein did what he did and the Arabs produced thousands of Arab Goldsteins since.

            As for attitudes. Maybe you could lead by example? Why don’t you turn the other cheek when you get attacked on this site for YOUR obnoxious attitudes, mmmmmmmmm, deary?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            “Benny, er, um, sorry, Carmen”

            Gustav why are you so desperate that you pull this cheap trick? Especially when you know that your right wing sidekick here is the one with the multiple screen names. It betrays a spirit of dishonesty and desperation–and of obsession with me–that you feel you aren’t up to handling me honestly so you have to resort to mindless tricks.

            Reply to Comment
          • Samson

            The portrait of a psychopath

            1. Ben is a guy, but Ben claims that his fellow guy, Gustav, is “obsessed with him?

            2. Ben responds to Gustav, while Gustav was responding to “Carmen”, but Ben is the one claiming that Gustav is “obsessed” with him?

            3. When cornered in arguments, Ben melts away, runs away and metamorphoses into one of his aliases (e.g. “Carmen”, “Israel”, “Muslim Jew”, “Eliza”, etc.) to obfuscate, distract and insult and trick others into thinking they are dealing with a poor, little weak woman that has to be treated with kids gloves, but Ben is the one accusing others of “dishonesty”? Woof!

            Folks, it seems Ben is a big fat pussy with a mustache and hairy legs! ROFLMAO……

            QUESTION to you Ben

            How many emails have you sent to Lisa Goldman/the moderators of +972 weeping and begging them to ban Merkava, Whonoze and Samson?

            Answer ONLY the question Ben! Don’t lie, because the moderators will read this and know that you are a liar, if you lie.

            And oh, before I forget: don’t worry about me, because when they ban me again following your weeping and begging them to do so, I will be back again and, as usual, you will be the first to notice. I am sure I told you that before.

            Reply to Comment
        • Dwight Love

          Again this treatment of these ppl is beyond injust.If ppl want to know why Arabs hate the ppl in Israel watch a dvd called “Why We Fight” it will explain everything!!!!

          Reply to Comment
      • ES

        “Amusement”??? What a disgusting comment! Way to insult the memory of the countless Israelis (Jewish and Muslim) who have lost their lives to the terrorism of the Palestinians. Israel would like nothing better than to live in peace. Their track record of multiple GOOD peace offers over the decades proves that.

        “continue to pay in land and blood” – really?? Don’t you think that declaring war (three times) on the Jewish people (who live on land from Jewish ancient times and BOUGHT from Arab landowners) and continuing the bloodshed after LOSING their attempts at genocide means they should take SOME responsibility for their actions?? Stop treating the Palestinians like helpless children. They can choose to be civilized and to build a nation, but they focus only on destroying Israel.

        Shame on you for your ignorant statements!

        Reply to Comment
    2. Felixio

      Concentration camps??? Anybody???

      Reply to Comment
      • Pál Prónay

        yes, far worse than your so called Auschwitz

        Reply to Comment
        • Gustav

          You are lying again, Magyar.

          Reply to Comment
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