A Holiday in Palestine? An Indian Woman Travels through Guns, Graffiti and the Strange Denial of Stamps – The Ladies FingerThe Ladies Finger

We walked through the souk, the market in the old city, and took a turn towards the entry of the Al-Aqsa mosque. Three Israeli soldiers stood at the corner. Overhearing us talking in English, they approached to ask us where we were going. This, because there are two entrances to the Al-Aqsa mosque, one for Muslims, and another for non-Muslims, which sort of translates into one for locals and the other for foreign tourists.We were headed to the Muslim entrance. Assuming we were tourists, they probably wanted to tell us we weren’t allowed entry from this side. As they approached us, AK retorted, “why?” They asked us where we were going. Why are you asking us, she snapped back. Where are you from, they insisted. It’s none of your business. We are trying to help you, they responded. We didn’t ask for your help. We walked away. One of them walked ahead of us and into the mosque. We stopped to look at an Afro-Palestinian neighbourhood. We then walked over to the entrance of the mosque where we were stopped and asked if we were Muslim. We were asked to recite a verse from the Quran. Neither of us could. After a short altercation we returned.As we approached the same corner again, one of the two remaining soldiers called out to us. AK snapped back again. He stopped us and asked where she was from. I’m Palestinian, she answered back. Can I see your ID, he responded. AK has a Blue ID because she resides in Jerusalem. Those living in West Bank and Gaza have a Green ID. She handed over her ID in anger and told him to keep it because she wasn’t going to sit around and be made to wait for hours as they harassed her. She had broken no law and there was simply no need for her to be stopped, she snapped and walk off. I followed her silently, wondering what would happen next. Don’t you need your ID to cross the checkpoint to go to work tomorrow, I asked. Yes I do. She called her cousin who ran a juice shop in the same market and turned around to get her ID back before the soldier disappeared with it. When we returned to the corner he told her she needed to stay there until he was done with her. She asked what his problem was again. So hurt simply because I wouldn’t listen to you? As she carried on, enraged, he snapped back, “Ok you need to shut up now.” At this point she lost all cool that she had left and demanded to see his captain.

Source: A Holiday in Palestine? An Indian Woman Travels through Guns, Graffiti and the Strange Denial of Stamps – The Ladies FingerThe Ladies Finger