AL-KHALIL (HEBRON) REFLECTION: Walking the broken path

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CPTnet
6 March 2015
AL-KHALIL (HEBRON) REFLECTION: Walking the broken path

[Note: The following has been adapted for
CPTnet. The original is available on the Palestine team’s website.)

The border police argued with my teammate about permission to walk the
paved “settler path.”  Sound bombs and tear gas were exploding at
Salaymeh, a checkpoint nearby. According to the soldiers, we could walk on the
same path that the settlers could, but the boys and girls with us could only
walk on the adjacent rocky path.

Palestinian children walking with CPTer
on unpaved side of road, while settler
walks on paved side

Border police uttered Hebrew words through his radio. My teammate engaged
the soldier. The children looked afraid. I pulled out notebook and pen, got
down on my knees, and started drawing.

“Pintemos un
payaso,” I told them, knowing the children would not understand. First the
head, then the nose, eyes, ears, hair. I drew a clown.

One of the
girls smiled timidly and told me something in Arabic.

“No te
entiendo, pero pintemos otro payaso,” “I don’t understand, but let’s draw
another clown.”

I started
again: head, nose, eyes, ears, hair. My drawings amused the girls. They
giggled. The boys pretended not to be interested, but peeked discreetly so they
could still see my art.

A flock of
sheep paraded nearby.

“Pintemos esas
ovejas!” I said, and started drawing the sheep. The children laughed and warmed
up to me, saying different things at once.

“No entiendo
nada,” I said, “pero pintemos un
pollo” and I tried to draw a rooster.

I was kneeling
on the pavement, giving my back to the soldier, and we were having fun.

“Your
passport, please,” said the soldier to divert my attention.

I pulled my
passport out and gave it to him, still facing the children.

“Where is the
number!” said he.

“What number?
Why do you need my number?” I said with curiosity.

“I do not need
your phone number, I need your passport number,” He affirmed.

“And why would
you need my passport number? I asked.

“I need all
the information.”

“You have all
the information. You have my passport. I will not tell you where to find the
number because you already have it.”

One of the
children pulled me down and pointed at the CPT logo on my vest.

“Ah! Pintemos
la paloma!” I said,” Let’s paint the dove!” I turned to a clean page and traced
the CPT dove. Another girl set her finger over the dove again.

“Te pinto una
tambien.”  I traced a sister CPT
dove perched on the same branch.

“Tell me which
of these is your passport number!” the man insisted.

“I will tell
you when you tell me why you need it.”

I knew this
could not continue much longer, or things would soon escalate. The officer
asked my teammate for his document. I gave notebook and pen to one of the girls
so she could draw something else. Then I stood up and faced the officer.

The Border
Police exchanged some words with my teammate, looked at me in dismay and
returned both of our IDs.

Khalas! Let’s go the other way,” said my
teammate, and started heading up.

In Al-Khalil,
the sophisticated Israeli military ensures that small children know that their
soft Palestinian feet can only walk on the broken path.

The Palestine Team was able to to take on the accompaniment of the Al-Saraya Kindergarten only because the support of donors made it possible. Participate in the work of CPT Palestine. Join a delegation!

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