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The small details of occupation

Updated: Aug 14, 2023

An innocent traveler driving throughout the West Bank might pass two spots by Road 458 without noticing them – the one is a locked heavy metal gate placed at the entrance to a dirt track, its sides firmly grounded with concrete; The second, also metal, is a giant Star of David standing right on the highway.

The arbitrary checkpoint has been placed at the turnoff to a route accessing the Palestinian village of Mughayir. This is one of the means of oppression carried out by the occupation authorities against Palestinians. Usually, the exit to the main road is blocked, opened only rarely and unexpectedly. There is no “security” excuse for this, but rather the blatant impunity of a predatory occupation. Thus, anyone coming out of the village for shopping, work, or medical treatment is only able to do so on rugged, winding dirt tracks that waste one’s time.

Life is full of inventions when one has no other choice. Here is a vehicle coming from Ramallah with bags of commodities, another vehicle meets it beyond the gate to bring the bags to a home in the village. It seems that Palestinians lower their heads and adapt to the difficulties that are heaped on them daily by the occupier. They seem to find ways to survive the sudden blockages, checkpoints and long waiting lines, curfew, fences and walls.

Such is the Israeli illusion. Palestinians are human, their desire to live is strong, as is the hope and aspiration of freedom. The two drivers, meeting on both sides of the locked gate, are sure in their hearts that this gate will open and be uprooted one day, that the way to Mughayir will be open and filled the intoxicating air of liberation. That is what holds the two Palestinian drivers upright at their wheels, the one coming from the outside, the other from inside the besieged village.

And the Star of David? That huge, contrary object? That thing, foreign to the route itself, to the dry grass moving in the dust? That is the kind of memorial which is hard to ignore. Its proportions in space hurt one’s eye. It commemorates the first husband of MK Limor Son Har-Melech, Shalom. This is where Palestinians fired at the vehicle in which the couple from Homesh were travelling. Now this community has been reinstated. Now, the former spokesperson of the MK is allegedly complicit in the murder of a Palestinian at Burqa village. Son Har-Melech hurried to visit the man accused of murder in the hospital and his buddy at court. And she is an MK representing the party which both inner and outer voices are growing stronger wishing it outlawed because its members encourage terrorism. Son Har-Melech herself is a personal embodiment of the Israeli occupation. She is the locked gate facing the Palestinian village, and the giant Star of David commemorating her husband, the man who together with her founded the thugs’ colonist outpost of Homesh the First.

Amir Pansky, untiring human rights activist who travels throughout the West Bank

is seen and heard describing things in the video and angered by them. He photographs the small and cruel details that make up the occupation map.

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