Precose In Canada

Anna Baltzer is a fellow Californian and a dedicated activist who spends her time trying to awaken others to what is happening to the Palestinians who are trapped inside Gaza and walled in like prisoners. Precose in canada   

Here is a piece on her own experience as a Jewish American being detained for three hours, precose in canada strip seached, precose in canada and humiliated at what was at the time one of Israel's new Orwellian "terminals".   

One can only imagine how the Palestinians are treated, precose in canada and yet we know.   

A powerful, precose in canada important read. Precose in canada http://www.jewcy.com/files/images/wall1.img_assist_custom.jpg Held Inside Israel's New Terminals
by Anna Baltzer


When I first the West Bank in 2003, precose in canada checkpoints were controlled by young Israeli soldiers, precose in canada nervously clutching their weapons and yelling at Palestinians to stay in line. Precose in canada

When I returned in 2005, precose in canada I found many checkpoints replaced by metal turnstiles into which Palestinians were herded to wait for soldiers to push a button, precose in canada letting them through one by one or sometimes not at all. Precose in canada

Each year I return, precose in canada the method of control over Palestinian movement is further institutionalized, precose in canada most recently Israeli terminal-style buildings, precose in canada entirely separating soldiers from the Palestinians whose movement they are controlling. Precose in canada

I first encountered one of these terminals after visiting a women's cooperative in Tulkarem to purchase embroidery to send home. Precose in canada

Because there are no reliable postal services in the West Bank, precose in canada and because I did not want to risk the products being damaged or confiscated by Israeli airport security if I transported them in my luggage, precose in canada I knew I would have to send them to the US from a post office in Israel. Precose in canada

I had traveled from Tulkarem to Tel Aviv once in the past by taking a shared
taxi to the nearby Einab junction, precose in canada where I had walked from the Palestinian road to the Israeli one and caught transport into Israel. Precose in canada

This second time, precose in canada I was traveling with my backpack and six plastic bags full of embroidery, precose in canada and I assumed the trip would be as straightforward as it had been in the past. Precose in canada

When I arrived at Einab junction, precose in canada I found a large new building, precose in canada fortified by several layers of metal fences, precose in canada walls, precose in canada and gates. Precose in canada

The first layer reminded me of rural parts of the Wall—wire fence reinforced with electric sensory wire and razor wire with a heavy iron gate. Precose in canada

The gate was open but nobody was on the other side. Precose in canada

I walked through and came to two large iron turnstiles surrounded by a wall of iron bars. Precose in canada The turnstiles were locked.

Frustrated, precose in canada I put down my six bags to rest for a moment. Precose in canada

Maybe someone would come back? I waited, precose in canada but still there was nobody. Precose in canada

I called out. Precose in canada "Hello? Anybody there?"

"Please wait a moment, precose in canada" a staticky voice above me blared. Precose in canada I looked up to find a speaker attached to the turnstile. Precose in canada

I didn't have much choice but to wait. Precose in canada

Whoever was operating the turnstiles didn't seem to be in much of a hurry, precose in canada so I took out my camera.

"Excuse me!" the voice snapped.

"Yes, precose in canada" I answered as I took my first photo. Precose in canada

"Please put your camera away immediately!"

"Please let me in immediately, precose in canada" I answered. Precose in canada

"I said to wait, precose in canada" said the voice, precose in canada and I answered, precose in canada "And I am waiting."

The light above the turnstile turned from red to green and I put away my camera and picked up my bags to walk through. Precose in canada

It was difficult squeezing into the tight rotating cage with all my bags, precose in canada and by the time I'd made it to the other side, precose in canada I was hot and cranky.

In front of me was a metal detector surrounded by iron bars. Precose in canada I began to walk through but the voice called out from another speaker above: "Stop!"

I continued through the metal detector and groaned, precose in canada "What?!" into the air, precose in canada wondering where he was watching me from.

"Go back and put down your bags."

I went back through the metal detector and set down my six bags, precose in canada which were feeling heavier by the minute. Precose in canada I took the opportunity to take another picture. Precose in canada

The soldier didn't bother protesting this time, precose in canada but ordered me to walk through the metal detector again. Precose in canada

I tried to pick up my bags again but he ordered, precose in canada "No, precose in canada without your bags." I walked through. Precose in canada Nothing happened. Precose in canada

"Now, precose in canada go back."

I closed my eyes with a sigh, precose in canada walked back, precose in canada picked up my six bags, precose in canada and walked through again before he could give me the order to do so. Precose in canada

Somehow this seemed so much worse than the turnstiles and metal detectors I had seen at Huwwara checkpoint. Precose in canada

At least there you could see the people humiliating you. Precose in canada Or maybe it was more upsetting because I wasn't used to being the one humiliated.

Beyond the metal detector was another set of turnstiles, precose in canada locked again. Precose in canada

I took a deep breath and stared at the red light, precose in canada hoping to see it turn green rather than let the guard hear my voice crack if I spoke.

Thankfully, precose in canada the turnstile buzzed and I squeezed through to reach the building itself. Precose in canada That was the end of the pre-screening. Precose in canada Now it was time for the real screening.

The inside of the building reminded me of an airport terminal—high ceilings and multiple floors, precose in canada and multilingual signs for travelers. Precose in canada

The ones here read, precose in canada "Prepare documents for inspection" in Hebrew, precose in canada Arabic, precose in canada and English. Precose in canada The signs didn't clarify where one was supposed to go, precose in canada however. Precose in canada

There were a series of five doors with red lights on top, precose in canada and I called out, precose in canada "OK, precose in canada my documents are ready... Precose in canada Now what?" I had yet to see a human face.

This time nobody answered, precose in canada so I asked again. Precose in canada Again, precose in canada nothing. Precose in canada I set my bags down, precose in canada annoyed. Precose in canada My back was hurting, precose in canada I was sweating, precose in canada and I didn't know where I was or what was going to happen to me. Precose in canada I yelled, precose in canada "Is anybody there?! Hellooooooo!"

Eventually a second staticky voice came through from a speaker on the wall. Precose in canada "Please proceed to the door."

"Which door?"

"The one on the left."

"Left of what? Where are you?"

"I can see you, precose in canada" the voice said. Precose in canada "Walk backwards and go left."

I saw a door behind me on the left and carried my bags over to it. Precose in canada Above the door was a red light, precose in canada which I stared at. Precose in canada Nothing happened. Precose in canada I was ready to cry. Precose in canada "Now what?" I yelled. Precose in canada Silence. Precose in canada I yelled again, precose in canada even louder.

"What am I supposed to do?!"

"Calm down!" yelled a cheerful soldier walking by on an upper level above me. Precose in canada He was finishing a conversation on his walkie-talkie, precose in canada and put up his hand for me to wait. Precose in canada I glared at him. Precose in canada "Go there, precose in canada" he pointed to another door near the one I was standing at, precose in canada and began to walk away.

"No, precose in canada please!" I blurted out, precose in canada forgetting my policy of not pleading with soldiers. Precose in canada "You're the first human face I've seen and I'm starting to lose it."

He motioned towards the door and promised that if I stood there, precose in canada the light would eventually turn green. Precose in canada

I picked up my bags, precose in canada approached the door, precose in canada set them down, precose in canada and waited. Precose in canada Eventually, precose in canada the light turned green, precose in canada this time accompanied by a little buzz that unlatched the full iron door. Precose in canada

I expected to find a soldier on the other side, precose in canada but as the heavy door slammed behind me I found myself in a tiny room with white
walls, precose in canada no windows, precose in canada and a second iron door. Precose in canada That door eventually buzzed as well, precose in canada and I struggled to open it as I held my bags, precose in canada settling to kick one in front of me instead. Precose in canada

The next room had three walls and a double-paned window with a soldier on the other side. Precose in canada

The soldier asked for my ID and I slipped it under the glass. Precose in canada He tried to make small talk and asked me what part of the United States I was from. Precose in canada I told him flatly, precose in canada "For the first time in my life, precose in canada I want to blow something up."

He must not have heard me because he let me through to the next tiny windowless room. Precose in canada

The next buzzing heavy door led out into the other open-spaced side of the terminal, precose in canada where I picked up the pace, precose in canada hoping to get out finally, precose in canada an hour after I'd arrived. Precose in canada No such luck.

One more soldier behind a window beckoned for my passport again. Precose in canada "Where's your visa?" he asked, precose in canada not finding the stamped slip of paper issued by Israel when the passport itself is not stamped.

 I answered truthfully, precose in canada "They told me at the airport that there were none left and that it would be OK." As the words came out, precose in canada I realized how absurd this sounded, precose in canada and I kicked myself for falling for it when I'd flown in the week before. Precose in canada

How could the airport run out of visa sheets? Wasn't it more likely that they were deliberately trying to inhibit my travel in the Occupied Territories?

It was hard to blame the soldier, precose in canada since, precose in canada for all he knew, precose in canada I'd snuck in over the hills of Jordan. Precose in canada "Whatever, precose in canada" I sighed. Precose in canada "Call airport security—I promise I'm in the system."

I knew it would be a while, precose in canada so I sat down again. Precose in canada

I thought I was past the point of anger until I noticed a line of 25 or so Palestinians waiting outside to come in from the other direction, precose in canada heading back to Tulkarem. Precose in canada Had they been waiting there all this time? Why weren't they being processed?

I asked the guard holding my passport and he said he'd tend to them after I left.

It was one thing to feel frustrated and humiliated, precose in canada but another to know that my ordeal had held up dozens of Palestinians from getting back to their homes and families. Precose in canada "Wait, precose in canada" I said. Precose in canada "Are you telling me that in your fancy new facility you can't process people coming in two directions?

Don't let the problem with me delay these people any longer."

He told me not to worry, precose in canada that the Palestinians were used to waiting. Precose in canada

This made me even more upset. Precose in canada I insisted that I would rather wait longer myself, precose in canada and eventually he beckoned the group forward. Precose in canada

I marveled as they waited patiently and yet somehow not submissively, precose in canada beacons of dignity next to my defeated and angry presence. Precose in canada I took out my camera and took a few photos. Precose in canada

Within seconds, precose in canada a guard appeared next to me—in person, precose in canada nothing but air between us!—and said sternly, precose in canada "Come with me."

I followed the guard back towards the section of the terminal from which I had just come. Precose in canada We passed through the windowless rooms and into a new room with crates on the floor. Precose in canada From there, precose in canada the guard opened another, precose in canada even heavier iron door, precose in canada and motioned for me to pass ahead of him. Precose in canada

Expecting the guard to follow me in, precose in canada I turned and instead found him placing my bags into the crates. Precose in canada

Realizing that soldiers were going to go through my bags, precose in canada I demanded to be present during the search to ensure that nothing would be damaged or stolen. Precose in canada "That's not possible, precose in canada" the guard said flatly, precose in canada and the door slammed shut between me and my belongings. Precose in canada

I kicked the door with frustration, precose in canada realizing that all my contact information for Palestinian organizers and friends was still on my computer. Precose in canada I realized that I still had my phone in my pocket and quickly called my friend Kobi, precose in canada an Israeli activist. Precose in canada I told him where I was and asked if he might make some calls on my behalf. Precose in canada He said he'd do what he could and we hung up. Precose in canada

I looked around the room. Precose in canada It was empty except for a chair and an empty crate on the floor. Precose in canada

There were no other doors, precose in canada but there was a two-paned window with a soldier watching me from the other side of it. Precose in canada "What are you looking at?"

I snapped at the soldier, precose in canada and he walked out of view. Precose in canada

Another soldier appeared, precose in canada a young woman. Precose in canada She spoke into an intercom so that I could hear her through the window. Precose in canada "Please take off your clothes and put them in the container on the floor."

It took a moment for the words to sink in. Precose in canada

Once they had, precose in canada I looked the soldier straight in the eyes, precose in canada and I began to undress. Precose in canada I removed each piece of clothing slowly, precose in canada not once taking my eyes off hers. Precose in canada

I watched her with a look of hurt. Precose in canada I wanted her to see that she was not just searching me—she was humiliating me. Precose in canada

Several times she looked away. Precose in canada When I was down to my underwear, precose in canada the soldier stopped me; she said that was enough. Precose in canada

A part of me wished that she hadn't. Precose in canada Perhaps if I were completely naked, precose in canada she would more likely recognize the extent of my humiliation and her role in it.

The iron door behind me buzzed and the soldier told me to place the crate containing my clothes and phone into the room where I had last seen the guard. Precose in canada

My other belongings were long since gone, precose in canada and I could hear soldiers in the next room going through them. Precose in canada

When I got back to the room, precose in canada the soldier in the window was gone. Precose in canada I sat down on the chair and waited. Precose in canada

The soldiers next door were chatting and laughing. Precose in canada I imagined them examining my personal photographs and letters. Precose in canada

I was too upset to sit still. Precose in canada I stood up and started pacing back and forth in the small room. Precose in canada I had to do something—anything—to express my emotions. Precose in canada If I could hear them, precose in canada then they could hear me. Precose in canada I began to sing.

I sang an old song that I'd learned at summer camp as a child. Precose in canada Its words were meaningless, precose in canada but I sang it at the top of my lungs. Precose in canada Within seconds, precose in canada the female soldier was at the window, precose in canada looking alarmed. Precose in canada I waved. Precose in canada I sang that stupid song until my voice hurt. Precose in canada It felt good to sing—I felt empowered. Precose in canada It was easier to act like a crazy person than a prisoner. Precose in canada

If I was unpredictable, precose in canada then they had lost the power to control me. Precose in canada

Half an hour passed. Precose in canada Or was it an hour?

My energy had worn off and I sat down miserably on the chair. Precose in canada I was tired. Precose in canada

The soldiers were gone from the next room now. Precose in canada What was taking them so long? It was cold in the room, precose in canada and I had nothing to cover myself with. Precose in canada I began to shiver and rock back and forth on the chair. Precose in canada I had no more energy to yell. Precose in canada I began to cry. Precose in canada

I cried for what felt like a long time. Precose in canada

Eventually, precose in canada the female soldier appeared in the window. Precose in canada I could tell she felt bad for me. Precose in canada I looked away. Precose in canada

The door buzzed and she instructed me to open it. Precose in canada

On the other side was a jacket and a cup of water. Precose in canada I put on the jacket and drank the water to soothe my throat, precose in canada but I was unimpressed. Precose in canada I didn't want a jacket or water. Precose in canada I wanted my freedom to leave. Precose in canada I wanted my dignity back. Precose in canada

Time passed. Precose in canada I stopped looking at the soldiers and talking to them. Precose in canada I stopped thinking of ways to pass the time or express myself. Precose in canada I didn't even feel like myself anymore. Precose in canada I felt empty, precose in canada defeated. Precose in canada I just sat and waited, precose in canada with a feeling of profound loneliness. Precose in canada

After what felt like an eternity, precose in canada the iron door buzzed and I opened it to find all my clothes and bags in a large pile brimming over the tops of the containers. Precose in canada The soldiers had emptied every single item separately into the crates. Precose in canada

The papers from my notebook were strewn about loosely. Precose in canada

Each piece of embroidery had been removed from its protective wrapper and crumpled into a pile. Precose in canada A can of tuna had been opened and left amidst the hand-sewn garments. Precose in canada

Even the boxes of Turkish delight—a soft sticky candy covered with powdered sugar, precose in canada which I'd brought for some friends—had been opened and rummaged through.

The only thing stronger than my anger was my desire to leave. Precose in canada I sat down miserably and folded everything back into my bags. Precose in canada I was crying uncontrollably, precose in canada but I bit my tongue each time I was tempted to speak. Precose in canada

When I was dressed and ready, precose in canada I stood up, precose in canada collected myself, precose in canada and tried to open the door. Precose in canada It was locked. Precose in canada

"The door's still locked, precose in canada" I informed the soldier watching through the window.

"Yes, precose in canada please wait a little longer."

"Why?" I asked. Precose in canada "You saw everything I have. Precose in canada You know I'm not a security threat, precose in canada and surely you know by now that I have a visa."

"I'm sorry but you're going to have to wait, precose in canada" she said. Precose in canada

I couldn't hold myself back any longer. Precose in canada I lost it. Precose in canada I opened up my bags and took out what was left of my canned tuna. Precose in canada With my fingers, precose in canada I began to spread the oily fish all over the window. Precose in canada

"What are you doing?" asked the soldier, precose in canada disturbed.

"You don't respect my stuff, precose in canada I don't respect yours, precose in canada" I answered.

Next, precose in canada I opened a box of Turkish delight. Precose in canada "I'm not going to stop until you let me out, precose in canada" I announced as I began mashing the gummy cubes into the hinges of the iron door.

"OK, precose in canada OK, precose in canada" said the soldier's voice over the intercom. Precose in canada "You can go now." The door buzzed. Precose in canada

I gathered my bags and walked out. Precose in canada

A soldier was waiting for me on the other side. Precose in canada He gave me my passport and said I was free to leave. Precose in canada

I called Kobi as soon as I was outside. Precose in canada

He said it was the US Consulate that had helped get me released. Precose in canada

The army claimed they were holding me because of the photographs I had taken inside the terminal. Precose in canada Interestingly, precose in canada they hadn't bothered to delete the images from my camera when they searched my bags.

I told Kobi what had happened. Precose in canada

I felt as if I had lost a part of myself inside that terminal as I had slowly lost control. Precose in canada

Kobi reminded me that even the option of losing control was a sign of privilege—Palestinians who behaved as I had would not likely have been freed. Precose in canada I tried to imagine what it would be like to endure such an invasive screening every day of my life.

Kobi told me a story about his Palestinian friend, precose in canada Sara, precose in canada whom he'd met in Maryland. Precose in canada

Sara would frequently travel back and forth between her home in Palestine and the United States, precose in canada where she was studying. Precose in canada

Each time she returned to Palestine, precose in canada she was able to walk right through the checkpoints. Precose in canada

She had enough confidence to just assert her will and go through, precose in canada simply by the fact that she was used to being treated like a person. Precose in canada

And each time, precose in canada after a few months in Palestine, precose in canada she would lose that ability. Precose in canada

In just a few hours I had gone from empowerment to craziness to submission to destructiveness. Precose in canada

What would I become after months of such treatment?

What about a lifetime of the even worse treatment that Palestinians experience?

It was dark outside the terminal as I hung up the phone. Precose in canada I had been held for 3 hours, precose in canada and there were no more buses running. Precose in canada I could see the lights of a settlement on a nearby hill. Precose in canada

I began walking in what seemed like the direction of Tel Aviv. Precose in canada

I stuck my thumb out to the occasional passing car, precose in canada and eventually a settler stopped. Precose in canada

He moved his gun out of the front seat so that I could get in. Precose in canada Feeling lousy about it, precose in canada I accepted a ride to the nearest bus stop from where buses were still running to Tel Aviv. Precose in canada

I boarded the first bus out and cried the whole way back to the city.
The original piece is found at Anna's site: http://www.annainthemiddleeast.com/