Good Morning Qalandya

The knocks on the door were loud enough to wake us all up. The doorbell ringing followed. Before any of us were able to roll out of bed to see who was there, they were already in the house with their guns drawn. Five of them positioned themselves inside while another five were standing just outside the door.

“Put your guns down. You see I don’t have anything with me,” Khalil pleaded with the soldiers as he made his way towards them.

“Who is the owner of these buildings?” the soldiers shouted.

Amal, Khalil’s wife quickly became fearful for her husband’s life. She began to panic as the kids started making their ways out of their bedroom.  “Go inside! Go back to sleep! Go.” She also pleaded with me to hide fearing that maybe it was me that they were looking for.

I was spending the night with them at their home in the town of Qaladnya. It is just a short walk away from Qalandya checkpoint, which divides Palestinian towns in Jerusalem with the West Bank, Palestinian Territories. Though they live in the West Bank side of the checkpoint, the Israeli army has completely free range on Qalandya.

Khalil stepped outside to talk to one of the soldiers. “Are you Khalil? Who lives here? Who lives downstairs? Upstairs?”

Without asking for his identification or anything to give a glimpse of who or what they were looking for, the soldiers simply left. We stood by the windows to watch them depart. One military jeep, a tank, and a bunch of other heavily armed foot soldiers noisily made their way through the narrow road.  It seems they came specifically to Khalil’s house, as we did not see them stop at anyone else’s.

Finally, they were gone. We all took a deep breath and took some time to gather our thoughts. What did they want? Who did they want? How did they know Khalil’s name?

Khalil felt sure they were going to take him away. “They only do this in the middle of the night, like that, when they want to take someone.” Amal felt the same way. “We have no security here. None. They can just come whenever they want and do whatever they want,” Khalil says with frustration.

Good morning Qalandya and welcome to life under occupation.

*The names used are not the real names of the individuals in order to protect their identities.

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3 thoughts on “Good Morning Qalandya

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Good Morning Qalandya | Ehab Z -- Topsy.com

  2. This same thing happened to my friend and myself in a hotel one night when we were in Tel Aviv. The Police banged on our doors in the middle of the night, waking us up, and demanding to see our passports and wanting to know what we were doing in Tel Aviv.

    The next morning, I asked the hotel clerk why the police had come to the room and their response was, “No police were here last night.”

  3. i suppose that’s why we are told to state that our reason for wanting to enter the West Bank, when we do go and visit, is to visit friends and families as opposed to the real reason, which is to work in camps or attend universities on delegations. We sometimes are given briefings in case they come knocking on our dorm doors because apparently this is happening with greater frequency. There was a time when the soldiers would shy away from offending foreigners especially American passport holders but I suppose that time has passed as their boldness and arrogance has increased in proportion with the impunity with which their are dealt with by the internationl community. Great article and it’s quite a shame that you had to go through that but very necessary that you share it with as many as possible.

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