Eretz Yisrael Time

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Monday, December 12, 2005
A few people responded to a Palestinian blogger from Beit Lechem (I won't post the link, because there is no reason to help promote their cause). The blogger was describing her experiences (successfully) passing through some checkpoints to spend time in Jerusalem’s Biblical Zoo.

A few commenters left their remarks on her site which aren't on the main page anymore but can be found on the permalink.

Jameel recalled that until Oslo and the advent of Palestinian suicide bombers, there were almost no roadblocks or checkpoints, and just as it is completely safe now for a Bethlehem Arab to go visit the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo without being hurt or killed by Jews, that’s how safe it was just 15-20 years for Jews to visit Beit Lechem, Aza, and other areas occupied by Arabs.

Jameel expressed hoped for the day there would be real peace and then road blocks and checkpoints wouldn’t be needed anymore to stop Palestinians on their way to mass murder Jews.

Does that sound extreme or unfair to you?

Another commenter posted the following version of their checkpoint experience coming from Efrat (just south of Beit Lechem). It was apparently written in response to an article in a magazine.


I read with interest your article on Palestinians, checkpoints and Israel.

As an Israeli living in Efrat, one of the Jewish towns mentioned in your article, I felt I personally related to the description of the humiliation, delays, and inconvenience caused by the various checkpoints.

Let me describe my typical day.

Efrat should normally be a 7 minute drive to Jerusalem, yet when I leave for work I have to drive through 2 checkpoints to enter Jerusalem, often sitting in traffic for as long as a half hour, as each car is checked one by one to make sure no Palestinian suicide bombers sneak through.

Before heading to work, I stop off at the post office to get my mail. At the post office, I empty my pockets, walk through a metal detector, and as I invariably beep, I then face the daily humiliation of the pat down (like when you are at the airport), I usually then show my ID – all to make sure that I am not a Palestinian terrorist planning to shoot up everyone inside the building - again.

Having completed that checkpoint I head over to work. Entering the building's parking lot, my car is then thoroughly searched to make sure no bombs are smuggled inside or attached unbeknownst to me (oh, and I show my ID yet again).

Entering the lobby requires that once again I show my ID. If it is a nice guard that knows me, he'll sometimes skip the humiliating pat down if I beep as I walk through the metal detector.

In the evening, if I want to go shopping with my wife and then catch dinner and a movie, the checkpoints and humiliations become nearly unbearable.

Entering the shopping mall parking lot in Talpiot, our car is once again thoroughly checked for bombs, and depending on the day's warning level, I might have to get out of the car and undergo yet another humiliating pat down (and of course show my ID).

Entering the supermarket, once again I empty my pockets, and get the pat down, my wife has the additional humiliation of not just a pat down, but of some stranger rummaging though her pocketbook and seeing what she keeps in there. Once again, to make sure we are not Palestinian terrorists smuggling in weapons to kill innocent Israelis in a public place – yet again.

Having completed our shopping we head to a restaurant, where yet again, we undergo a full body pat down, and to my wife's humiliation yet again, her pocketbook is rummaged through, all to make sure that we are not yet another Palestinian suicide bomber trying to blow up yet another restaurant and all the Jews inside.

Do I need to describe what happens when then head over to the movie theater?

I probably should, because there we are checked 3 times, as they make sure that the previous guard didn't misidentify us at any point.

Luckily, when we head back home there are no spot checks on the road today and even better, the guard at the checkpoint to our town recognizes us, so we go through unhindered.

As he opens the huge metal gate attached to the wall that surrounds my town, which protect us from Palestinian infiltrators, I feel like I'm entering a big prison.

Prison-like or not, usually our town's security fence works. In the past few years, only 3 Palestinian terrorist got through, but thank God they were killed in time before their attacks actually succeeded.

Though the truth is, the Palestinian suicide bomber in our supermarket only failed because the trigger to his suicide belt malfunctioned when he pressed it.

So I must say, I do relate to the fact that my Palestinian neighbors must go through so many checkpoints, yet not as many as I go through every day.Unfortunately, unless the Palestinians unequivocally give up terrorism, both their checkpoints, and my checkpoints are here to stay.

Tomorrow I am renewing my ID card. It's worn out.

Now I ask you. Do you think it is right that we Israelis have to go through so many checks and metal detectors every day just because Arabs like to blow themselves up and take everyone else with them?

No it isn't.

And do we give a hoot about some whiny Arab from Bethlehem who gets to spend the day safely wandering around Jerusalem's Biblical Zoo or Malcha Mall after passing through some checkpost that was only installed to prevent them from from killing even more innocent people?

No we don't.


Anonymous said...

There would be no need for checkpoints or suffering if we would do what Hashem Yitbarach demands of us. Expell the Goyim. I challange any Frum Jew who responds, "but thats racism" to learn Rambam Hilchos Melachim to understand how to run a Jewish country and what is to be done under Halacha to our enemies.

JoeSettler said...

Amusing coincidence:

The JPost has an op-ed piece by Moshe Dann on Bethlehem today, called "The Other Bethlehem".

JoeSettler said...

"I challange any Frum Jew..."

You can't challenge anyone if you post anonymously.

Anonymous said...

Actually, those comments weren't erased at all: They were originally made on the permalink and are still there.

JoeSettler said...

Thanks. I've corrected the post.

Jerusalemcop said...

As a former Israeli Police Officer, I am unfortunately very familiar with the aftermath of terrorist attacks. I actually believe that we have no choice (because of the reality that we live in) but to always go through security checks wherever we go. Thankfully, we are not in America where "Racial Profiling" is not allowed to be practiced. Anyone who is a possible suspect should be checked whether he looks like an Arab or a Jew. Senior Citizens and (some) children are a different story. It basically comes down to the professionalism of the person doing the checking. Unfortunately, many of the "checkers" at the malls and other stores are only doing a half-assed job. I would probably say that the "checkers" in America must feel really dumb asking an 80 year old grandmother to take her shoes off (to check for explosives) and then let a 20 something year old Arab through without a spot-check.

I have seen "before" and "after" pictures of captured terrorists who made themselves look like Yeshiva Bochurim. I'm talking about both charedi and "Hesder" types. I (even with my extensive police training) would not be able to differentiate between the Jew and Arab if the terrorist is masqueraded properly. The bomber on bus #2 on Shmuel Hanavi 3 years ago was dressed up like a charedi student. It is very scary how flawless some of these disguises are.

The terrorists have placed us in a position where in order to be safe (and feel safer) everyone must go through checks. I would be willing to go through all these checks to help insure that my family, friends and fellow Jews can feel safer and (attempt to) live normal lives in this crazy world.

One last thought, Try and imagine how scary it can be to check someone who you believe is a terrorist. You have to always be on the lookout and feel confident that you are doing the right thing. Waiting an extra few minutes to get into the Central Bus Station isn't the end of the World.

JoeSettler said...

Wow. I'm glad to see I have a new reader on board. That makes 3.


Jerusalemcop said...

now you can read my blog also (its now up and running)

Anonymous said...

That other commenter has a very smart "friend". That friend should start a blog of his own...

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