Ramallah, Palestine – Cages. Reserved for Palestinians, metal bars directed our every move- this was Qalandia checkpoint, one checkpoint out of more than 500 situated throughout the occupied West Bank. Directed by Israeli occupying border police and pipe-smoking young Israeli occupying forces (“I would smoke that too, if I had his job” as my cousin aptly put it) the military occupation that has gripped the West Bank since 1967 was displayed in its epitome.

Cages and metal detectors. An Israeli permission slip or foreign visa must be blared at the occupying soldier sitting across the window. More cages. Then, the sun blinks again. We have exited Qalandia checkpoint, only to have found ourselves in yet another cage; one surrounded by the Apartheid Wall, the concrete barrier built on annexed Palestinian land that is not only mainly situated along the “Green Line” (the line which cuts off occupied Palestinian territories from each other, bound by Israeli rule) but also dissects deep into the West Bank, smothering Palestinian communities into ghettos.

I was headed to Tabariya. A rare visit to the occupied ’48 Palestine lands, made almost impossible without an Israeli ID or Israeli permission slip. The smothering Israeli occupation and its systematic use of apartheid policies are masked as “security measures” to perpetuate Israel’s image as the bullied outcast in the midst of mean Arab neighbors in the Middle East.

“It’s not every day we get this chance,” Mama said.

I did not want to fall asleep on the bus ride. I wanted to keep my eyes open and savor Palestine. I wanted to soak up history, for every few miles a Palestinian village may have stood here or there before being razed to the ground by Zionist militias. My heart skipped a beat every time a sign (posted in Arabic, English and Hebrew) declared Akka or Haifa or Safad to be just around the corner. How many others? How many others that did not have signs pointing in their direction?

This was Palestine suited to fit its colonialists. Yet the White Man’s dream of displacing the indigenous population of Palestine for his own holy liking was unfulfilled. Despite being sliced like Swiss cheese, made even more isolated from itself after the signing of the dreaded Oslo accords, Palestine remains inhabited with its native population that managed to remain in their homes despite the genocide and ethnic cleansing committed to their behalf, and the occupied ’48 lands are no exception- this is as blatant example as can get to the steadfastness of our people. In spite of being subjected to extreme discrimination and treatment as 2nd class citizens within these communities, they do exist, and remain resolute.

Falasteen is solid, not submissive, our rock- it has not alternated to Zionist demands. It has not been mutilated into Israel but is contaminated with a disease called the Israeli occupation, ridden with inhumane apartheid and fascist policies, from the river to the sea. And the cure to this epidemic is resistance in any form, from the river to the sea, and abroad.

Without correction (as it has, to an extent, unfortunately become the norm), I hear Palestinians giving Israel full legitimacy as a state when they refer to cities such as the Palestinian coastline town Umm AlRashrash as its colonized name; Eilat, and proceed to take this to even higher levels and fully acknowledge that this “Eilat” is in this “Isra’eel”. The terminology used, especially under occupation, is a reflection of the situation one submits to. I wonder what would happen if each household rebutted the occupation in a very important and mandatory form and spoke of the ’48 lands as Palestine and not Israel. This is resistance in itself.

As are the cages and checkpoints that dominate and suppress us, the PA has managed to cage an illusion of liberation into our minds. This fact that this false impression exists and is used to disguise the PA’s intentions of a police state in exchange of direct concession on our unalienable rights is not only insulting to the Palestinian cause, but must be mentally and physically emancipated, which is the first step to the path of (real) liberation. After that, no excuse may derive us from being our own masters. We have nothing to lose from refusing to conform to the occupation except our chains. I am anxious for our masses to finally refuse walking in cages.

 Deema Alsaafin







  1. […] Ramallah, Palestine – Cages. Reserved for Palestinians, metal bars directed our every move- this was Qalandia checkpoint, one checkpoint out of more than 500 situated throughout the occupied West B…  […]

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