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50th Anniversary of the Occupation
Fantastic issue, I read it cover to cover and passed it along to my
sister (to share with members of her congregation). So refreshing to
read progressive views. Thank you.
Cheryl J. Hall
I am sending this in response to your recent issue on the 50th anniversary of the occupation. Below, I describe my recent experience being tear-gassed by the Israeli military, along with a large group of Palestinians, while standing in line at the Qalandiya Checkpoint. Incidents like this are an everyday experience for Palestinians living under occupation. Sadly, the only reason this incident is receiving any attention at all, particularly in American Jewish circles, is because I – an American Jewish activist with a social media presence – happened to be there. Here is what I wrote on my social media as it was happening:
8 June 10:48pm
Tonight I was tear gassed *literally* for standing in line with a large group of Palestinians, including babies.
1. This afternoon I visited a dear friend in Ramallah. I hadn’t seen him in four years. It was lovely.
2. My friend dropped me off at Qalandiya Checkpoint at around 7:30 in the evening so that I could head back to Jerusalem. As I waited in line, folks were beginning to break the Ramadan fast, nibbling on pita bread and smoking their first cigarettes of the day. Typically, I would take the bus through the checkpoint, but there were no buses at iftar (break-fast time). My friend said, “I better drop you off fast so they don’t shoot at me.” I laughed it off.
3. I couldn’t figure out why there was such a hold up in the line. People were hungry, and it was hot, and the line wasn’t moving. Rumors started circulating that the soldiers were not allowing Palestinian residents of the West Bank with Ramadan permits to enter after 8:00PM. Folks were confused by this and wanted to stay in line to see what was going on.
*Note: Every year, Israel gives thousands of Palestinian residents of the West Bank special permits to enter Jerusalem to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan. There are all kinds of age and gender restrictions, and of course everything is subject to last-minute changes, but it happens. And tomorrow is Friday, Islam’s holy day, so folks were hoping to get into Jerusalem with their Ramadan permits to pray the Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa.
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Tikkun 2017 Volume 32, Number 4:3-7