…this isn’t news.

I spent eleven days with the International Solidarity Movement in Jerusalem and the West Bank in 2002. I am not about to claim that this gave me a thorough knowledge of the conflict there, but it did give me a snapshot of life in an occupied nation. The bureaucratic complexity of Palestinian oppression by the Israeli state really hit home.

As always, it’s about the stories that don’t make the news…

Osama lives in East Jerusalem, or rather, he doesn’t…

 

 

…He was born in East Jerusalem, and grew up here…

 

 

…but he left the country once, and when he returned they issued him with West Bank ID…

 

 

It was OK when he had a job, because he had a Jerusalem work permit…

 

 

…but he has been unemployed for eight months now…

 

 

And he is married to Howla, from East Jerusalem, and is entitled to Jerusalem ID through her…

 

 

 

 

…but they aren’t processing applications at the moment…

 

 

…not of Palestinians, they aren’t.

 

 

Israelis and Palestinians pay the same flat rate for municipal services…

 

 

…Palestinian areas don’t get rubbish collections.

 

 

Osama ran into a checkpoint last night driving home…

 

 

…He showed Howlas ID, pretended he had made a mistake…

 

 

…The policeman confiscated the ID card, and wouldnt give him a receipt.

 

 

 

They are expecting their first baby this week…

 

 

…they have seen on the scan that it will be a little girl.

 

 

The water supply to their village has been diverted to the Israeli settlement across the valley.

 

 

Howla goes to the police station to get her ID back…

 

 

…but they say that Osama has to report in person…

 

 

…to the Russian compound. For questioning.

 

 

Last month, Howla sold her wedding dress to pay the rent.

 

 

 

Now if Osama does not get Howlas ID back, she will be unable to go to hospital to have the baby…

 

 

…If he does go, he will be detained, and miss the birth…

 

 

…He thinks they will imprison him for one or two years. He has written articles critical of the Israeli regime.

 

 

That night they sit on their verandah…

 

 

…They watch Apache helicopters
rain shells down on Bethlehem.

 

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