Za’atara, Qalandia, Al Hamra, Huwwara, Beit Eeba, the Container, Atara, Ennab… these are just a few of the names of the hundreds of Israeli military roadblocks known to every Palestinian. At each one, Palestinians face abuse, humiliation and mistreatment by the Israeli soldiers.Za’atara, Qalandia, Al Hamra, Huwwara, Beit Eeba, the Container, Atara, Ennab… these are just a few of the names of the hundreds of Israeli military roadblocks known to every Palestinian. At each one, Palestinians face abuse, humiliation and mistreatment by the Israeli soldiers.
These checkpoints are a manifestation of the torture that every Palestinian has to go through on a daily basis. They have to wait there for hours on end – in some cases, the checkpoint or roadblock just ceases to open altogether, and after waiting for days, they are forced to return back without crossing. At these roadblocks, Palestinians who want to travel within the Palestinian territories have to wait, in the rain, in the hot summer sun, they have to wait there while the soldiers joke with each other, play games on their cell phones and laugh inside air-conditioned guard booths. Meanwhile, the Palestinians are forced to wait for their turn to be searched, questioned, and maybe abused.
You cannot escape these roadblocks, they are everywhere. Permanent ones and temporary ones, they have become the border within the border within the border … they are every few kilometers on the main roads, and even on the small roads. There is no way to avoid them. Every Palestinian who travels even the shortest of distances is forced to go through these checkpoints.
At each one, you can see hundreds of cars and thousands of Palestinians just waiting, some of them going to work or coming back home, others going or coming back from educational facilities, hospitals, medical centers and other places.
The long hours of waiting end with humiliation, search and often mistreatment by the soldiers who might have become bored with their duty, or may have developed a kind of amusement in this duty of humiliating the people and mistreating them.
It does not matter if you are a pregnant woman, a hospital patient, handicapped, a government employee or even a political leader. Every Palestinian has to go through the humiliation of these roadblocks. Even ambulances, doctors and medical teams on emergency calls have to wait.
Ennab checkpoint is one example of hundreds of checkpoints spread through the occupied West Bank. It is considered a small roadblock, but it has become one of the worst roadblocks installed by the army.
It became a place where extended suffering is found on a daily basis, a place where violations and abuse are happening every minute and every second.
The checkpoint is called Ennab, or “Ennav” by the Israelis, since there is a nearby Israeli settlement called “Ennav”. That settlement, like all settlements in the occupied West Bank, was built on lands illegally seized from the residents of the Palestinian villages of Anabta, Rameen, Beit Leed, and Kafr Al Lubbad.
ِAt Ennab, you have to wait for several hours so you can eventually stand for a couple of minutes in front of a soldier who will look at your identity cards, search you and whatever you are carrying.
There, every child, man, woman and elderly has to wait, every patient, every doctor has to wait, they have to stand there in any weather and just wait. In many cases, they wait for nothing, because a young soldier with a big gun tells them “go back…go back”. Back to where, it doesn’t matter to him. How to go back does not matter to him either…you just have to “go back” when the soldier gives that order.
On any given day at Ennab checkpoint you will see hundreds of residents, farmers, pregnant women, children.., patients…you will see them waiting there under the mercy of the mood of a young soldier who does not care about the people, their dignity or anything else…you can notice that those young soldiers became like robots with their figures on the triggers of their rifles, machines that are programmed to say a couple of commands but not programmed to interact…
In Palestine, a whole nation is living under siege, under closures, invasions, attacks, and death. A whole nation living under one of the most brutal occupations on earth, while the world is talking about freedom, democracy, and human rights. But the Palestinians are still living under this military occupation, struggling for their freedom and imprisoned in isolated ghettos put in place by this occupation and by the illegal Annexation Wall.
If you go to Palestine, you will hear, see and witness hundreds of stories, stories of suffering and humiliation, stories of a nation living under occupation and deprived of its basic rights to self-determination, freedom and liberation.
There, you will find a whole nation imprisoned in its own land, imprisoned behind Walls of hatred, settlements and military camps..and, more than anything else, a nation of people waiting, just waiting, at the checkpoints…..at Ennab and nearly 700 others. Just waiting, waiting for something that will finally set them free.
Translated and Edited by Saed Bannoura – IMEMC