Hughmalala

01.06.18 | Bethlehem, West Bank, Checkpoint 300 | A Palestinan Authority policeman shouts as a crush develops during a Friday in Ramadan

Checkpoint 300

A dangerous crush develops as thousands of Palestinians attempt to pass through Checkpoint 300 in Bethlehem. It is the third Friday of Ramadan and they are trying to reach Jerusalem to attend prayers at Al Aqsa. They have travelled from all over the West Bank, most leaving their homes before dawn, knowing they must first navigate the Israeli security system. In the photo, a Palestinian Authority policeman shouts at the crowd while Israeli soldiers look on. The Israelis are members of the ‘Border Police’. This is a misnomer; They are a military force granted police powers. They also operate throughout the occupied territories, not solely on any border. At the point shown in the photo, the people have not even reached Israeli processing yet. The X-Ray machines, cattle-gates, and the soldiers who will decide whether they can go to Jerusalem today are another 500 or so metres away. When (if) they finally pass to the other side of the separation wall, they will still be two kilometres inside occupied Palestinian territory. About 85% of Israel’s ‘Border Wall’ actually lies inside Palestinian territory. Due to the ever-shifting nature of the occupation, the people in this photo never know if they will reach their destination. Permit rules change regularly, without warning, and without explanation. You may have been able to visit Al Aqsa for Ramadan in previous years, but not today.

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