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Photo Essay: Crossing Qalandia, and the Wall, during Ramadan

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The second Friday of Ramadan saw more than 350,000 Palestinians descending onto Al Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem, many of whom were taking advantage of eased restrictions by Israeli authorities on those living in the West Bank.  Qalandia checkpoint operates with several adjustments during the Islamic holy month and for those unable to cross legally, smugglers organize locations along the separation wall for Palestinians to sneak in.

Women queue at Qalandia checkpoint around 5am, on their way into Jerusalem for Friday prayers at Al Aqsa Mosque. Qalandia checkpoint is segregated for men and women on Fridays during Ramadan. (Photo: Karam Saleem)

Women queue at Qalandia checkpoint around 5am, on their way into Jerusalem for Friday prayers at Al Aqsa Mosque. Qalandia checkpoint is segregated for men and women on Fridays during Ramadan. (Photo: Karam Saleem)

An ISM (International Solidarity Movement) activist confronts an Israeli soldier checking the age of a boy in line. Palestinian children from the West Bank under 12-years-old are allowed entry into Jerusalem for Friday prayers.  Soldiers routinely check the ID cards of young boys to make sure they meet age requirements.(Photo: Karam Saleem)

An ISM (International Solidarity Movement) activist confronts an Israeli soldier checking the age of a boy in line. Palestinian children from the West Bank under 12-years-old are allowed entry into Jerusalem for Friday prayers. Soldiers routinely check the ID cards of young boys to make sure they meet age requirements.(Photo: Karam Saleem)

A PMRS (Palestine Medical Relief Society) volunteer helps a man from Nablus on his way into Qalandia checkpoint beside Palestinian District Coordination soldiers.  PMRS and the Palestinian Red Crescent Society maintain a volunteer presence every Friday during Ramadan at Qalandia checkpoint.  The Palestinian soldiers coordinate with the Israeli military to facilitate the crossing on Fridays during Ramadan. (Photo: Karam Saleem)

A PMRS (Palestine Medical Relief Society) volunteer helps a man from Nablus on his way into Qalandia checkpoint beside Palestinian District Coordination soldiers. PMRS and the Palestinian Red Crescent Society maintain a volunteer presence every Friday during Ramadan at Qalandia checkpoint. The Palestinian soldiers coordinate with the Israeli military to facilitate the crossing on Fridays during Ramadan. (Photo: Karam Saleem)

The humanitarian lane at Qalandia checkpoint exists for those crossing in wheelchairs and women with infant children.   (Photo: Karam Saleem)

The humanitarian lane at Qalandia checkpoint exists for those crossing in wheelchairs and women with infant children. (Photo: Karam Saleem)

Most Palestinian women from the West Bank are allowed to cross through Qalandia without permits on Fridays during Ramadan, even though Israeli regulations stipulate that permits are needed for those under 40. (Photo: Karam Saleem)

Most Palestinian women from the West Bank are allowed to cross through Qalandia without permits on Fridays during Ramadan, even though Israeli regulations stipulate that permits are needed for those under 40. (Photo: Karam Saleem)

A 250mm machine gun rests in the window of a watch tower at Qalandia checkpoint.  The gun was removed after a Palestinian District Coordination officer asked the Israeli commander to remove it after those crossing began to notice. (Photo: Karam Saleem)

A SR-25 semi-automatic sniper rifle rests in the window of a watch tower at Qalandia checkpoint. The gun was removed after a Palestinian District Coordination officer asked the Israeli commander to remove it after those crossing began to notice. (Photo: Karam Saleem)

 Early morning rush hour peaks around 6am as those crossing try to enter before normal daily commuters. (Photo: Karam Saleem)

Early morning rush hour peaks around 6am as those crossing try to enter before normal daily commuters. (Photo: Karam Saleem)

The early morning crossing typically takes around 30 minutes, with extended periods of standstill. (Photo: Karam Saleem)

The early morning crossing typically takes around 30 minutes, with extended periods of standstill. (Photo: Karam Saleem)

Two children stand atop a cement roadblock to avoid being pushed in the crowded line. (Photo: Karam Saleem)

Two children stand atop a cement roadblock to avoid being pushed in the crowded line. (Photo: Karam Saleem)

A large group from Jenin walks along the separation wall on their way to Qalandia.  Villages and cities across the West Bank organize special transportation on Fridays during Ramadan.   (Photo: Karam Saleem)

A large group from Jenin walks along the separation wall on their way to Qalandia. Villages and cities across the West Bank organize special transportation on Fridays during Ramadan. (Photo: Karam Saleem)

Men walk along the separation wall after dropping off women family members on the adjacent side. (Photo: Karam Saleem)

Men walk along the separation wall after dropping off women family members on the adjacent side. (Photo: Karam Saleem)

Men over 50 years old do not need a permit to cross through Qalandia, while younger men need permission from the Israeli government. (Photo: Karam Saleem)

Men over 50 years old do not need a permit to cross through Qalandia, while younger men need permission from the Israeli government. (Photo: Karam Saleem)

An Israeli soldier stands outside Qalandia checkpoint around 6am. (Photo: Karam Saleem)

An Israeli soldier stands outside Qalandia checkpoint around 6am. (Photo: Karam Saleem)

Palestinians gather at a point along the separation wall in Al Ram to illegally cross into Jerusalem with the help of smugglers.  A knotted rope allows them to descend on the other side. (Photo: Karam Saleem)

Palestinians gather at a point along the separation wall in Al Ram to illegally cross into Jerusalem with the help of smugglers. A knotted rope allows them to descend on the other side. (Photo: Karam Saleem)

After one hour, Israeli military and border police jeeps arrive. (Photo: Karam Saleem)

After one hour, Israeli military and border police jeeps arrive. (Photo: Karam Saleem)

After being dispersed by Israeli authorities, Palestinians trying to cross illegally change to another prepared location. (Photo: Karam Saleem)

After being dispersed by Israeli authorities, Palestinians trying to cross illegally change to another prepared location. (Photo: Karam Saleem)

Israeli riot police wait on the other side after jeeps arrived on the West Bank side of the wall to disperse those trying to cross.(Photo: Karam Saleem)

Israeli riot police wait on the other side after jeeps arrived on the West Bank side of the wall to disperse those trying to cross.(Photo: Karam Saleem)

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Karam Saleem

Karam Saleem is a Palestinian medic, photographer and activist trainer based in Ramallah, documenting daily life under Israeli occupation. Follow him on twitter @KaramVSaleem.

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6 Responses

  1. just on July 2, 2015, 12:00 pm

    Ramadan mubarak, Karam Saleem.

    It’s painful yet very important to see this photo essay, and I am grateful that you shared it with us. The obvious contrast and dissonance between the armed IOF and the Occupied pilgrims is made evident by your photos.

    Thank goodness for ISM, PMRS, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, other activists and humanitarians, and you.

    The Occupation & ongoing Nakba is an indelible stain on the human race and a crime against humanity.

  2. just on July 2, 2015, 1:09 pm

    Never O/T:

    “Dan Cohen ‏
    Large Israeli occupation presence in Shuafat for commemoration of 1 year since murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir”

    go to his twitter feed and see some great photos and videos!

    https://twitter.com/dancohen3000

    Of note and from Rebecca Pierce via the link: “The only Israeli Knesset member to attend Mohammed Abu Khdeir memorial is Osama Saadi from the Joint List”

    • just on July 2, 2015, 3:56 pm

      “The Abu Khdeir family is serving Iftar dinner to hundreds of people at the memorial. That is called class. ”

      https://twitter.com/dancohen3000/status/616656115648978944

      Sumud and generosity and class~ all genuine.

      Just wanted to mention that the picture of the sign of the “humanitarian lane at Qalandia checkpoint” still has me bemused. It’s completely oxymoronic.

      • DaBakr on July 2, 2015, 9:20 pm

        @js

        it is not an oxymoron. there is nothing contradictory about the word humanitarian and lane. perhaps what is bothering you is that anything associated with Israel would be termed ‘humanitarian’. I can’t believe I have to explain to you wha a proper oxymoron would be from your Zionist-hating pov. But here goes:
        And oxymoron for just would be if the sign said, “Zionist Humanitarian Lane” or even something like: ‘E-Z pass humanitarian lane’ .

        As for the wall…it is not and was never meant to be permanent and will come down eventually one way or the other. by the time borders are negotiated who knows what technologies will be available to Palestinians or Israelis.

  3. CigarGod on July 4, 2015, 9:34 am

    You’ve got photo skill, Karam.
    Head and shoulders above the crowd.
    Going to put you in the rotation, man.
    I’ll learn from your perspective.

  4. Mayhem on July 8, 2015, 9:29 pm

    @DaBakr

    As for the wall

    I wouldn’t be so sure it might be removed in the near future with enmity against Israel set to endure even if Israel were to get out of the West Bank territory. Walls to keep out terrorists are becoming de rigeur in our modern world.
    Tunisia plans anti-terrorism wall along border with Libya

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