Wednesday, May 09, 2007

At-Tuwani Blog "You're a Palestinian -- you need to go a hundred times."

22nd March 2002

This evening we got a call that there was a checkpoint on the road. The mayor of Tuwani (who has been living in Yatta since his home was demolished in 2004) and his son were not being allowed to cross. The son is a twenty-three-year-old man with special needs and no ID. They have been trying to get an ID for him since he turned eighteen and are always denied. The father returned to Yatta to get his son's birth certificate but since he was born before the IDF started keeping their records electronically, the paper is now invalid. This means that birth certificates for all Palestinians over the age of about fifteen are worthless, which I'm still having a hard time comprehending. So they arrested him.

He went in the army jeep and Ilse and Marco followed with the father in his car. The Israeli police station for this area is inside the Kiryat Arba settlement, so Palestinians are not allowed in unless they are taken there by the police or army. (Another mind bender for me. Palestinians can't visit family being detained or pick them up from the station when they are released. They are released into the middle of a very hostile settlement and made to find their own way out.) Marco stayed with the father at the gate to the settlement and Ilse took a cab to the station. The police looked at the birth certificate and immediately said it was fine and he could go. (How much was due to the presence of an international, I do not know.)

Back at the gate, the soldier told the father he needed to take his son to get an ID. The father said they had been fifty times but were always rejected. The soldier said, "Fifty times? You're a Palestinian -- you need to go a hundred times." Which is just about the best summation of the occupation I have ever heard. Things that are a given for anyone else in the world take one hundred tries for Palestinians.

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