Israeli military checkpoints on the West Bank

A photographic essay shot at Israeli military checkpoints in the West Bank on Fridays during Ramadan from 25 May to 10 June 2018

In Hollow Land: Israel’s Architecture of Occupation, Eyal Weizman writes that “Machsom [checkpoint] Watch – an organisation of women dedicated to monitoring human rights abuses at military checkpoints – has painstakingly recorded and reported the violence and humiliation caused by the checkpoint system; the delaying of the sick, the elderly and infants needing medical care, the births and deaths occurring on the hard shoulder; the manner in which the circulation regime penetrated and violated every aspect of Palestinian daily lives, delaying, humiliating and exhausting people in a daily struggle to survive, attempting, as they claimed, to make Palestinian political resistance beyond their capacity to undertake.”

This photographic essay by Anne Paq is a contribution to the ongoing documentation of this organised humiliation. The photographs were shot for New Frame at Israeli military checkpoints in the West Bank on Fridays during Ramadan from 25 May to 10 June 2018.

Every Friday during this period tens of thousands of Palestinians move through the Bethlehem and Qalandia checkpoints. Some arrive as early at 5am to be sure to make the most of the day.

The usual restrictions imposed by the Israeli forces are eased during Ramadan. All Palestinian women are allowed in but men between 12 years and 40 years old are denied access to Jerusalem. No permission to enter Jerusalem was granted this year for Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip.

10 June 2018: On their way back from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, Palestinians found themselves stuck behind a turnstile after the Israeli checkpoint faced a technical problem, on the third day of Ramadan.They had to wait for more than one hour in scorching heat.
8 June 2018: Palestinians climb with a ladder the Israeli Separation Wall a few kilometers away from Qalandia checkpoint in order to reach Jerusalem.
18 May 2018: An elderly Palestinian man passes through Bethlehem checkpoint on his way to Jerusalem for the first Friday of Ramadan. Checkpoints in the West Bank are a complex structure made of terminals, security detectors, turnstiles, and cage-like lanes.
8 June 2018: Palestinian women face overcrowding conditions passing Qalandia checkpoint on the last Friday of Ramadan.
25 May 2018; A child tries to gasp some air in a crowd of Palestinian men passing the Bethlehem checkpoint on their way to Jerusalem for the second Friday of Ramadan. Boys under 12 years could pass without a special permits in the Ramadan period.
8 June 2018: A Palestinian sells umbrellas at Qalandia checkpoint to protect worshippers from the blazing sun.
8 June 2018: Early morning, thousands of Palestinian women are crammed together next to the Israeli Wall to cross the Qalandia checkpoint, located between Ramallah and Jerusalem on the last Friday of Ramadan.
18 May 2018: Palestinian women pass through Bethlehem checkpoint walking next to the Israeli Separation Wall on their way to Jerusalem for the first Friday of Ramadan. Bethlehem checkpoint is the main gateway for Palestinians from the South of the West Bank to Jerusalem.
8 June 2018: A Palestinian youth defy Israeli soldiers by repeatedly biking in front of them at the Qalandia checkpoint. Because of his age, he was not able to cross the checkpoint to reach Jerusalem.

Anne Paq is with the ActiveStills photo collective.

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