Just another Morning at Checkpoint 300

Or was it? … Yesterday I was working on another post, but then this morning happened…

September 20, 7:45 AM: I leave the Jerusalem side of the checkpoint where I have been standing since 4:00 AM. I make my way home with a heavy heart, weeping as I go. I don’t have pictures to share with you, and I fear that words are inadequate … I hope a few vignettes might convey some of the emotions of my morning.

  •  A mother with a small, sick child is clearly trying to make her way to the hospital in Jerusalem and is trapped behind bars and gates in a crush of men…
  • An old man is held back for questioning…
  • Another mother with a sick child exits, looking tired and dejected…
  • A young man is made to redo his finger prints again, and again, and again…
  • And another, and another, and another…
  • A small child is separated from his friends as they try to enter Bethlehem against the morning rush…
  • Men with shoes untied and belts flapping run for the bus as they clutch their plastic lunch bags…
  • A woman cancer patient is trying to get to the hospital for treatment. She thanks me for my warm smile but wonders how she can make the soldiers understand that this is inhumane…
  • Men who have been inside the terminal during the time of morning prayer exit the terminal to join the line of the devoted as they prostrate themselves on the ground in prayer…
  • A young man is grabbed, roughed up and thrown out of the terminal by two young security guards seemingly because he is talking on his cell phone rather than proceeding directly to the exit…
  • Another mother with a very sick child…
  • And another…
  • And another…

And these are the Palestinians with permits!

What of the Palestinians who are sick but can’t get a permit to go to the hospital in Jerusalem?

What of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who are not allowed to even enter Jerusalem?

Not allowed to pray at their holy site…

Not allowed to visit family…

Not allowed to move freely…

Not allowed to go to the sea…

Not allowed…

Not allowed…



It was all too much … All the way home, the words that were in my heart but unspoken were, “This is so wrong, so wrong, so very wrong”…

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14 Responses to Just another Morning at Checkpoint 300

  1. sherryannea2 says:

    Dear Dawn,
    Thank you… I ‘hear’ you… I ‘see’ you…
    Your words speak volumes… Your grief calls out…
    Thank you for this opportunity to stand with all of you who are standing at Checkpoint 300 in the morning…simply trying to live a life…
    Ending this occupation is necessary so that people can live their lives, growing up and living meaningfully…
    Thank you for helping us to feel this collective pain and…to take action from within Canadian society,
    Sherry Ann
    EAPPI Jerusalem Team 38

  2. Kay Clowater says:

    My Dear Dawn,
    Your compassion calls out…. this must be emotionally draining to be privy to such inhumane actions. I am doing the power point presentation of our trip with a group on Sun. evening and I would like to share this posting with them. Hope it’s ok. It seems fitting as I show photos of the checkpoints. Sending thoughts and prayer that you will receive the strength and courage necessary for such a worthy mission. Keep safe!

  3. Jo-Ann Pawliw says:

    Dawn…As I send my boys off to school today, my heart is heavy. How is it that our situation is so vastly different, yet we are in the same world? How is it that the only worry they had today is that they wanted to buy their lunch rather than take one from home? Your post reaffirms my commitment to doing more. Much more. Thank you for your commitment to our family out there.
    Your tears are our tears. We are with you. Thank you for sharing their life so that we know what our brothers and sisters are having to deal with every day – every day.

  4. Jo Nicholas says:

    Dearest Dawn, weeping with you and for you… you “see” these inhumanities on our behalf – trying to find the words without going into the anger that must walk beside you daily! How can we stand by and allow our brothers and sisters be treated so shamefully! Know that we hold you and your pain in our hearts as you journey and continue to witness…. blessed be and love – J

  5. Joan Gray says:

    Dear Dawn, thank you for sharing…it tells a story so well. You convey a sense of what it is like to be there at these checkpoints and the anguish in feeling helpless and saddened by it all. I think everyone reading this blog could wish they could lighten the burden of what you see, hear, and feel. Your descritpions help me to understand a little more…thank you. Joan

  6. Brenda MacLauchlan says:

    Dear Dawn – your words are the pictures – the stories – the anguish – it comes to me in song “we know not the way- who goes the way” – but we do know the way is through the heart – may those who have hardened their hearts and built and sustain the walls of hatred find a soft place where justice might take root- thank you for being who you are where you are. Brenda

  7. Marilyn blackall says:

    Dear Dawn,
    You painted the ‘photos’ all too clearly with your words. Can’t imagine what it is like to witness these truly inhumane acts. Know that your beautiful smile and your presence are making a difference for some of these people — people who are not being treated like people by the security guards. Take care of yourself however you can in order to be able to continue to do this important work on our behalf.
    Sending loving hugs,

  8. Lori Stewart says:

    Dear Dawn,
    Your words have painted a heart wrenching picture. The generosity of your willingness to witness the inhumane treatment of vulnerable people and to get the stories out to the world is so valuable. May we be as generous with our willingness to keep moving those stories out into the world so that change will come.

    I continue to hold you in my heart through this journey. Stay strong and take good care of yourself.
    Continued blessings…

  9. Mary Faith says:

    Holding the people of 2 nations in prayer as well as you and all those who are with you – and crying too as I type this – my service Sunday will use your posts as well as what I saw/experienced – and you are so right – it is very wrong -sending blessings and love,
    Mary Faith

  10. leschef2@yahoo.com says:

    This is so wrong, on so many levels! It is the Palestinians homeland that was invaded and continues to be illegally occupied. I have personal friends (Palestinians) who live in the West Bank and in Gaza (the largest outdoor prison in the world!). I know what you are seeing and feeling! It sickens and saddens me daily to know what is truly going on there! The fact that the world watches this and does nothing. I don’t understand it. My heart goes out to you and the beautiful Palestinians who have to endure this. Peace be with you all! Linda Keough
    Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

  11. Anne Loewan says:

    Dear Dawn,
    I am filled with rage and grief at the cruelty you are witness to. Thank God for you and others who offer kindness. Hang on to the thought “we are not alone”. Through you, we share the pain of the suffering. Refocus on whatever is positive around you to keep you strong. My thoughts and prayers are with you. I will join into the Peace Day gathering at the Legislative Ground tomorrow and take you and the people you brought to us today, along, in thought and spirit.
    Anne Loewan

  12. Iris Stanley says:

    Dear Dawn,
    I am sitting here in my son’s living room in his house on Vancouver Island and see a new wall of fog rolling in off the sea and read your message. I want to hold and comfort you and send my love and hope to you, but it feels so inadequate………words can not express my feelings.
    My sadness is overwhelming when I read how people who have had so many terrible things done to them can in turn be again so cruel to the people they now occupy.
    Will we ever understand that this type of treatment only breeds more hatred and horrible behavior?
    Warm hugs

  13. Annabel Sheppard says:

    My heart breaks for those struggling Palestinians! I send you courage and hope for the journey ahead.
    Love, Annabel

  14. Janet, Yvette and Ben says:

    Heartbreaking. Dawn – your work means so much – we are sending so much love to you to continue in this important work. Stay safe in the days ahead.

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