One Day, Many Years from Now, people will ask how come we were bystanders

I was debating myself about the last photo. I thought I might choose one of my “checkpoint pornography” photos: violence, shooting, children crying, bleeding wounds. Or photos of sick people, sometimes in a critical condition, arriving at the checkpoint with life-supporting systems, transferred from one ambulance to another, a technique known as “back to back”. There are many of those which I’ve never published. Or perhaps it is time for the “waiting project” – photos I took of Palestinians waiting, for the checkpoint to open, for their turn to arrive. At the checkpoint I began thinking about the body language of a person who is used to waiting, and there is not a nation more used to waiting than the Palestinians.

But climactic moments, such as a woman giving birth behind concrete blocks for some privacy have become quite rare. Colonialism, apparently, is a learnable practice, and Israelis have learned it well. Our occupation is becoming more and more efficient and planned, and therefore more aesthetic and photogenic. Less soldiers with helmets and camouflage paint and M-16s, more security guards dressed as civilians, and an elegant pistol tuck under their shirt. Less harassment in checkpoints within the West Bank, more in the terminals into Israel, coming into work.

Palestinian workers are completely dependent on their Israeli employers. They work in Israel (either in Israel proper or in the settlements, but it is one and the same), Israeli goods are sold in the PA territories, and the Israeli manufacturer enjoys a consumer market with limited options. This is the colonial patent. The British did it long before us.

This point is important because Israelis, especially those who consider themselves to be leftists, make more and more distinctions between them and the settlers, until sometimes it seems to me like there’s really a hatred of settlers. They are there, and we’re here. But whoever thinks that only the settlers benefit from the occupation, has not learned anything. The same goes for anyone who thinks the colonial project began in 1967. The next time you walk on a pavement in Tel Aviv, or drive on a road in Israel, try and think who is really doing the planting and the building and the paving. Who is profiting from cheap workers, and who is manufacturing goods to sell in the West Bank and the Gaza strip. The occupation is much more than the real-estate deal of the settlers.

The photos show a banal routine of a successful colonial project.

Top photo: Tayasir checkpoint, Jordan Rift Valley, May 3rd, 5:30am. Workers from the Jordan valley work in Israeli settlements in the valley and in Israel. Palestinian residents of the valley heading for Israel will go through one of the checkpoints (Tayasir or Hamra), then again in Ma’aleh Ephraim (unmanned early in the morning, except for a guard in watchtower), another in Anbatta, in the entrance to Tul Karm (usually unmanned in those hours), and then the hell of Irtah, which has been my focus in the past few weeks. On their way home all these checkpoints will be manned.

Middle photo: Palestinian workers coming out of the inspection facility, Eyal terminal, in the outskirts of Qalqilya. May 9th, shortly after 6am.

Bottom photo: workers at the Irtah checkpoint, outskirts of Tul Karm. May 21st, 4am. The number of workers in the area between the turnstile and the facility is monitored. After thirty workers have passed through, the turnstiles lock.

I am taking a break from blogging. Perhaps we’ll meet again in the winter.



Click here for a Hebrew version of this post.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to One Day, Many Years from Now, people will ask how come we were bystanders

  1. Haitham Al-Sheeshany says:

    Many thanks for today`s post, I fear what the coming generations will think of our actions (or lack of actions!)


  2. Maguy says:

    Thanks for your article.

  3. nina says:

    hi ya’ara.
    thank you for still blogging. believe me, you’ve made a different.
    take your time but please write again.

  4. Guntar says:

    hi ya’ara.thank you for still blogging. believe me, you’ve made a different.take your time but please write again.hug,nina.

  5. Sri Rama Lama Ding Dong says:

    Unfortunately, we will as human beings united by the same Spirit, remain by-standers until we cease to allow our governments to hypnotize us into believing their actions are sanctioned by God according to their various religions.

    There is no such thing as a Christian, a Jew, a Moslem, a Hindu or other such thing. These are simply words in common usage for which we collectively believe we can associate a thing called a reality.

    Honestly it is time, as evidenced by events and illustrated by these pictures, for people to pursue the religion of the heart and not of the head or reason. Ghandi and the people of India simply decided to make a change and sat down in front of the machine that fed them propaganda, twisted and controlled their lives, and relegated them to the position of a people watching events happen to them instead of controlling those events. The world should now, as a collective of its consciousness, sit down, stop and take back the power to achieve and end to the hopeless nonsense by withdrawing our support.

    A concept, a dogma, an historical event we cannot change are dreadful reasons to be deprived of our humanity and life itself.

  6. AbeBird says:

    I don’t no. I don’t trustArabs.

  7. AbeBird says:

    Ya’ra, why the Israelis let the Palestinians get into Israel? Isn’t it better to let the Arabs deal with their destiniy by themselves?

  8. This article is very interesting. enjoy your break. I’ll check back later in the year for more articles!

  9. cheap shop says:

    you done a good jobs

  10. irokike says:

    very interesting this post

  11. Nicolle Bamberg says:

    Great information 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s