A Palestinian family, mother, father and a 10 years old son, a British activist and myself, a strange company, what can I say, are making our way from Jayus to Tel Aviv. We arrive at Qalqiliya checkpoint, or in its formal name Eliyahu crossing, and I get but a taste of the Palestinian checkpoints experience.
“ID” demands the soldier.
She's staring at 3 blue ID cards, and one British passport with growing suspicion, matching faces and photos and asks me:
“So, how do you know each other?”
“All of you?”
“Yes. All of us.”
“How do you know him?”
“I met him in Scotland.”
“I keep the Ids, turn right, park the car, and get searched.”
“Everybody out of the car.”
“Stay in the car.”
“I said, everybody out of the car.”
I'm thinking to myself “Will you simply make up your mind”, as I'm opening and closing, and reopening doors.
A rifle points at us, and there's a finger on the trigger. A different soldier starts shooting questions at me.
“Where are you from?”
“Where is he from?”
“Where do you know each other from?”
“Where are you coming from?”
I'm tackled, I don't know what's the correct answer to this one, olive harvest in Jayus, certainly isn't.
“I gave them a tour of the area. We came in from Kfar Qassem.”
“Don't look at him, answer me!”
“What he said”, I mumble.
She knows that I'm lying. I know that she knows.
For some reason she doesn't press it any farther, and sends us to get searched inside.
Metal detectors look the same everywhere, but the rifle is still there, and the finger is still on the trigger, even as it is pointing to the floor.
Four adults and a 10 years old boy are waiting for their bags.
And the bag goes back in for another round.
“Don't take any phone calls in here!”
(And certainly don't mention that you are being held in a checkpoint.
They hand me back a bunch of Ids, because it is only me that they are speaking with.
I refuse to smile, utter the obligatory Thanks.
We head quickly back to the car, not leaving them any time to change their minds.