Getting Stopped at a Security Checkpoint in Palestine

Getting Stopped at a Security Checkpoint in Palestine

The wall stretched along the edge of Bethlehem and was covered with graffiti –not the ugly kind of graffiti, but the beautiful kind, the poetic kind, the kind that gives voice to many voiceless people.

There were images of roses growing out of concrete and little girls with bows in their hair, frisking soldiers with machine guns. I had spent two weeks staying with a family in a Palestinian refugee camp interviewing people and now was boarding a bus to take me to Jerusalem.

The weather was hot and I was carrying two bags, one with my camera and tapes of testimonies from the people I’d spoken with and another bag with my clothes. I also had my iPhone in my pocket.

The bus was crowded and windows were down to let the dusty wind blow right through. I sat beside one of the windows and watched as we drove along the wall toward the checkpoint that divided the West Bank, Palestine from Israel.

“He saw you,” said a young woman sitting next to me.

The checkpoint was gray. Soldiers, like the ones in the graffiti were everywhere, but there were no little girls frisking them. The bus joined the line of cars waiting to pass through. Outside the window I watched three soldiers stop a small gray car, driven by a woman, her three children in the backseat.

One of the soldiers told the woman to get out. She did. He told her to step aside. She did. Her head was covered by a gray hijab and she kept her eyes averted. The soldier told the children to get out of the car. They did and stood behind their mother.

The soldiers searched the car. They opened the trunk and looked under the hood. They looked in the backseat, the front seat, and then under the seats. They checked the glove compartment and under the car. They didn’t find anything.

They spoke to the woman and the children in Hebrew in harsh voices.

She strained to understand their language and then shook her head. The soldiers stood around the woman and the children and spoke to her. Again and again she shook her ahead.

The bus began to move and as it did I took a few photos of the three Israeli soldiers standing around the Palestinian woman and her children.

“Delete,” he said.

“He saw you,” said a young woman sitting next to me.

One of the soldiers put his hand up and stopped the bus and boarded it. He walked toward me, down the long aisle. Everyone remained silent. He was young, my age, with olive skin and brilliant green eyes. His gun was gray like the car he had stopped and he held it across his chest. He spoke to me in Hebrew, with the same tone of voice he had spoken to the woman. I shook my head to indicate I didn’t understand.

“Delete,” he said.

I deleted the first photograph, but there was another.

“Delete,” he said again.

There was another.

“Delete.”

And another.

“Delete.”

And another.

“Delete.”

“Delete.”

“Delete.”

“Delete all.”

At a Security Checkpoint in Palestine
Dominique in Palestine

 

About Dominique Sinagra

2 thoughts on “Getting Stopped at a Security Checkpoint in Palestine

  1. Roni
    July 10, 2014
    Reply

    Do you happen to even understand why checkpoints are necessary in Israel? Because if you did, you would know that there were numerous cases of Palestinian women- yes WOMEN- and kids- yes KIDS- who tried passing te border AT CHECKPOINT strapped with bombs on them. So, these soldiers are checking any possible or creative places people could be hiding any sort of weapons. This has saved many lives. From your tone in this article, it seemed to subtly imply that Israeli soldiers are assertive and searching cars for no reason, as if they enjoy doing it. This is not the case.

  2. Emma
    July 4, 2014
    Reply

    What a story!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Top
Loading...