The notorious Qalandia military checkpoint erected by the Israeli army to separate the West Bank from Jerusalem has drawn an infamous reputation over the past 14 years because of the daily suffering it brings to thousands of Palestinians who have to pass through it for work, education or to visit their families.
Thousands of Palestinians from Jerusalem and the West Bank cross the barrier on a daily basis, but West Bank residents must obtain special permits issued by the Israeli army to enter Jerusalem.
The Israeli Separation Wall isolated several neighbourhoods which were once part of Jerusalem; this increased the Palestinians’ suffering and forced them to use the checkpoint to travel every day.
The Anadolu Agency conducted interviews with Palestinians waiting outside the checkpoint; each with a different story that summed up the tragic humiliation they face on their journey to Jerusalem on a daily basis.
Haniyeh Al-Jobei, 57, from Jerusalem
“I have been waiting with my seven-year-old grandson for nearly three hours after the Israeli soldiers prevented us for crossing under the pretext that I do not have official documents to prove my relation to the boy,” Al-Jobei explained.
She said that after she visited her daughter in the nearby city of Ramallah she returned with her grandson but was denied entry. “Neither my daughter nor her husband are home, now I have to wait for God only knows how long, until they return and bring the documents so we can pass.”
Hamza, 25, from Nablus
“I was saying goodbye to my fiancée who is from Jerusalem. Because I am a resident of the West Bank, I cannot enter Jerusalem,” Hamza explained holding flowers given to him by his fiancée.
“We meet in Ramallah, or sometimes she comes to visit me in Nablus. I was hoping to hold our engagement party in Jerusalem, and to celebrate our union in the holy city, but the military checkpoint and the Apartheid Wall ended our dream.”
“But they will not break our will. We will love and rejoice and get married and this occupation will end one day,” he said.
Intisar Wazani, 58, from Qalandia refugee camp
“We suffer hardships here in order to cross a few metres to reach the occupied city of Jerusalem. We pass according to the Israeli soldiers’ mood. They can hold us for several hours without reason, the soldiers enjoy our suffering.”
Wazani said she visits Jerusalem to perform her daily prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Sultan Al-Dmeiri, an eighth grade student in Beit Hanina School
Al-Dmeiri was on his way home from school. “I go through security checks on a daily basis. The soldiers search my school bag and inspect me thoroughly.”
Al-Dmeiri, who lives in Al-Matar neighbourhood on the Israeli side of the Separation Wall, said: “The soldiers harass me every day and call me a liar and say I hold fake papers. They call my father on a weekly basis under the pretext of validating my identity.”
“I am late to school every day, and when I come home, I am very exhausted. Before the wall was built, it took us 15 minutes to reach school, now it takes me an hour and a half.”
Hanan Ghaith, 8
Ghaith was returning from school with her brother, she told Anadolu: “We suffer here. The soldiers search us and delay us every day”.