פייצל אוהב לטייל בירושלים
feisal loves walking
At 9 a.m. Faisal was on his way to Jerusalem. To take a walk. He
tried his luck crossing a low wall near Bir Naballah, small and not
entirely finished, just on the verge of Atarot.
A jeep with two soldiers arrested him. Him and another fifteen men and
eight women. Most of them were trying to get in for work. The soldier
took their IDs, told them they were found inside Israeli territory, and
ordered them to wait near the wall until he got back with their IDs.
They waited for fifteen minutes. Perhaps he went off to catch others.
After he returned, they waited another forty minutes, some sitting, and
says Faisal, "he called out my name first, I was glad. Thought I'd sign
the form (that's what you do, sign a form and get released. After
several more times you go to prison, sometimes right away, depends on
the soldier) and go. Just then another jeep came. The soldier from the
second jeep took all the IDs from the soldier of the first jeep.
Kicking us, he told us all to get up. We got up. One was a real old man.
Sick. They said they'd take us all in the jeep to the checkpoint.
We got in, three of us first. I heard him say on the phone that he'll
throw these three at the checkpoint and the rest will walk. In the jeep
we couldn't breathe. We sat on half a seat, crowded together. All three
of us. Including the old man. The soldier placed the dog on our laps. On
purpose. To sit on us. He was covered. The soldier said, 'if you do
anything, the dog will bite you.' We were scared."
Finally Faisal could no longer stand the dog's proximity and said to the
"I have a problem with you putting this dog on our legs". The soldier
said, "That's not my problem. Shut up."
"Then", says Faisal, "we came to A-Ram checkpoint. We sat on the side.
Not where you see the people crossing the checkpoint. We couldn't use
the phone, or go to the toilet, or drink water, or smoke. If we said a
word, they'd take us into a small room, beat us up and bring us back.
"Beat you up? I asked. "Say we sit there," says Faisal, "and there's a
soldier standing next to us, all the time. The moment he sees anyone
move or talk or just budge a little, he calls him, sends him to the
other soldier who passes him onto a container-like cell, where he gets
beaten up a little, and then comes out. They hit the face, the belly,
the legs. Not really hard. I asked. Just a bit. Five, ten minutes each.
At the checkpoint, there's a soldier with a dog. Anyone who arrives go
to him and the soldier with the dog tells him to go back. It's closure.
No one gets permits. This is how it is. For everyone. No one gets
through. Then he came to us too, to frighten us. Every ten minutes, or
five minutes. One by one. To threaten us. ou won't believe what I'm
going to tell you. After a while, another jeep came with five or six
dogs." Faisal doesn't remember the exact time.
"At first we didn't know this was army. I mean, a guy came between us
dressed in civilian clothes, not uniform, and holding a box. He hid the
box among us. I asked him what he was doing, didn't know what this was.
I told him I don't want trouble with the soldiers. He was dressed in
civvies. He said he was a soldier.
A few minutes later the same guy arrives with a dog to look for the box.
One dog after the other. About five or six of them. Every time a
Sometimes he holds the dog and the dog's face is covered, sometimes
uncovered. And they all come to sniff us, our bodies. And we not allowed
to move. All the dogs found the box. Every time a dog found the box, the
soldier would give it food, seat it down and pet it.
After they were done with the dogs, around 1 p.m., they told us to sign
the form and let us go."
"What did you sign?" I asked.
""You know, that form you have to sign in Hebrew and Arabic, sometimes
they add to it only in Hebrew handwriting, without Arabic, that says
that while I was in Israel I was caught and searched, and no one stole
my money or hit me or behaved badly."
"So I told them," Faisal says, "how can I sign this after what you've
done to me?
And the soldier said, either you sign or you stay here. So I signed,
what could I do?"
Faisal has spent ten years in Israeli prisons, undergone severe torture
both in detention and in jail. His face was slashed, his jaw broken, and
he is disabled.
Faisal is a man of peace.
He says that after having been incarcerated for so long, he can no
longer stand closed doors and borders. He loves Jerusalem, he likes to
take walks around it, more and more. Otherwise he goes crazy. And
nowhere else in this world, only in Jerusalem.
And how can anything happen to him, he is a man of peace who has already
sat in prison and now knows that violence is not the way. He is a
pacifist. And he cannot believe that he is forbidden to walk around
Jerusalem, the city he loves so much.
Once a soldier caught him and he called us and asked us to tell the
soldier that he is a man of peace. And we did, and the soldier let him
His time is measured. The moment will come when he is caught and nothing
will help him. Because Faisal is Palestinian.
And that is all, more or less.
Wednesday, 4.4.07 – One day during the Passover holiday – full closure
throughout the occupied territories