Translated and edited by George Rishmawi-IMEMC

Between 7 am – 8 am is the time when the ‘Iron Gate’ in the separation wall, an entrance to five villages south of the West Bank city of Qalqilia is opened.

Tens of Palestinian, farmers, students, men and women gather on that time of the day waiting for the Israeli soldiers to open the gate to run to their schools and work.

What is unbelievable in this daily tragedy is that the residents of these villages are required to program their illness, work, family visits and all forms of life to fit the three times a day for one hour each time, morning , noon and evening.

Who ever gets sick, has to wait until the time to open the gate comes to be able to go to a hospital and wait for the next one to get back home.

In the night the whole area is sinks in a deep dark silence in Azzoun Etma, Magharat Al-Dab’a, Ras Atiya, Beit Amin and Izbit Salman villages.

Featuring some of the examples of the daily humiliation of those villagers, I met some of them in the village.

The chief of Magharat Al-Dab’a village council, Sadeq Al-Araj says, ‘We are buried alive by these gates, we are dying slowly, because no body can live for a long time in such unbearable conditions. Who can get sick at a programmed time, or die on a programmed time give birth on a programmed time and get happy or sad at programmed time?’

On the other hand, Abdul Kareem Al-Araj from the same village says, ‘the soldiers asked us several times to imitate the cats or dogs to allow us to pass through the gate, and if lucky they ask us to sing instead. Besides, they always ask us to show them our bodies and revolve to grant us passage. These are our passports.’

‘At these gates, tens of kids were born, others were killed, and those who are alive face a daily bitter torture. Standing in long cues is a familiar daily scene these days, and watching the clock waiting for the gates to open has become a habit for all the villagers’ says the chief of the village.

One of the old ladies in the village is always late for her doctor visit in Qalqilia. When he asks why, she simply answers, ‘we live accordingly to the gates times,,, our lives are connected to the time of opening and closing these gates. If we get sick, we have to wait at the gate until a military patrol passes by, and beg them to allow us through. This is always related to the mood of the unpredictable soldiers who always say ‘we do not have keys’, and when they have keys, the interrogate us for at least one hours before allowing anybody to go through’

The lady says, with a long sigh, ‘we are locked in like chicken, may god help us to face the injustice of the Jews, then recites from the Koran, ‘there is no power except for God the greatest’ and leaves the village heading to the gate so that she won’t be late for the Gate Mean Time (GMT) otherwise she will have to wait until the evening for the evening.