Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Once Upon A Time In Qalandiya

We said it in the Western Sahara, "waiting for two days is nothing like waiting for 30 years." Here, I would say "waiting for an hour is nothing like waiting for 30 years."

You can no longer drive around Qalandiya. Every other road is sealed. Ar-Ram is split in two and even more isolated. I had never realised before, whenver I went to visit Khaled in his office, I was on the Israeli side.

Qalandiya is a processing plant for human goods, a funnel that attempts to identify and catagorise its traffic. You are identified as safe or dangerous, your bags x-rayed. You take off your belt and watch. Hold up your passport for inspection, smile, explain why you're here. The liht goes green, push the turnstile. These crossings are designed, in the words of the Israeli administration, as International Borders.

What's on the other side. Where does this International border lead? Where is the other nation? These are questions of logic and semantics, questions of identification, determining the meaning of the word "the" in UN resolution 242. We have to deal with this minutae, because the real issues are to big to see all at once.

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