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Imprisoned life: the feeling of a ‘closed military zone’

30th October 2016 | International Solidarity Movement, al-Khalil team | Hebron, occupied Palestine

‘Closed military zone’ – a sterile term for an act of deliberate apartheid policies and dehumanisation with the clear and deliberate target of forcibly displacing Palestinian civilians: women, children, elderly, anyone that is Palestinian, from the Tel Rumeida and Shuhada Street neighborhood with the deliberate aim of connecting the illegal Israeli settlements in the heart of the city of occupied al-Khalil. A connection of illegal settlements: ‘sterile’, ethnically cleansed of any Palestinian presence.

‘Closed military zone’ – such an objective term for obliterating human rights and even a sense of security and justice for Palestinians – in ambitions to in the end, finally, obliterate the people as well.

‘Closed military zone’, a sterile and objective term, that is hard, if not impossible to grapple. A term, just like ethnic cleansing and genocide that seems very far away, and hard to get the gist of, the feeling, what it means to struggle with it every day. Day in and day out, no escape.

‘Closed military zone’ (cmz) means degradation, dehumanization. Every Palestinian is made a number, stripped of their humanity, at the endless checkpoints, only numbers will pass.

‘Closed military zone’ is the denial of friends and families to visit relatives and friends, as humans aren’t allowed in the cmz by the Israeli forces, only the few ‘registered’ and listed- yet still human – Palestinians will pass – if a soldier, emboldened with impunity and the privilege to act on their own whim, allows them to.

‘Closed military zone’ is the all-to-familiar humiliation at the checkpoint, the yelling, having to empty your handbag, all your grocery-shopping. To put it in plain sight, on a table, for the soldiers behind the bullet proof glass to stare and gaze, to crack jokes and laugh. It’s being forced to lift up your shirt, undershirt, trouser-legs and take off your shoes, after passing a metal detector twice. The soldier enyojing the spectacle laughing with his comrade.

‘Closed military zone’ is the wait, the endless wait, when soldiers at the checkpoint turn up the music, so they can’t hear you asking to open the gate at the checkpoint for you. The endless wait, when you ask them to open, the soldier looks at you, and with impunity just goes back to playing on his phone, pretending not to have noticed your presence, with a smirk on his face. The endless wait, when a ‘busy’ soldier is reading, talking to someone on the phone, watching a movie, playing an ego-shooter, or simply decides to not allow you to pass.

‘Closed military zone’ is the obvious and deliberate instrument for the humiliation and dehumanization of a whole people. The Palestinian people. Humans. Humans denied basic human rights, treated like prisoners in their own homes, simply because they’re Palestinian. Because they don’t move out of the way for a racist, zionist, apartheid venture of an ethnically cleansed strip of illegal settlements.

Last but not least, the ‘closed military zone’ can only succeed, if the world turns a blind eye, if the injustice perpetrated by the Israeli forces is allowed to prevail, if the dehumanization of a people with the aim of their obliteration is silently accepted by the international community, by a country, and by an individual.

‘Closed military zone’ means ethnic cleansing of humans not spoken against, dehumanization not spoken against, the forcible transfer of humans not spoken against; even the idea of a human being behind the term of ‘Palestinian’ being denied, the existence of Palestinian human beings denied, their existence destroyed.