Kalandia Checkpoint. The First New Gate To Jerusalem in 466 Years.

Women going though Kalandia ©

SCI-Arc graduate Harris Silver has shared his experience passing through the Kalandia Checkpoint during his quest for “an uncanny truth” that would lead him to develop an architecture project in the city of Jerusalem.

The Kalandia Checkpoint is an opening in what calls “The Security Fence” and what Palestinians call “The Apartheid Wall”. Regardless of what you call the separation infrastructure, the checkpoint acts a modern gate to the city of Jerusalem.

After experiencing Kalendia first hand, I came away realizing that until I personally walked through the checkpoint, I was ignorant of the mechanism and tactics employed to humiliate and dehumanize everyone who passes through it. Which means I was not fully capable of participating in the Israeli-Palestinian discourse.

Continue reading for the full Op-Ed.

I travelled to Israel in June 2010 with 11 classmates as part of my graduate studies in architecture at SCI-Arc. Our architecture studio was set up like a thesis, we were asked by our gifted teacher Eric Kahn to develop our own projects and he encouraged us to find one with “an uncanny truth”. The only requirement was that it be in Jerusalem.

Because we were working in an ancient city, on sacred land, entrenched in history and biblical reference, I felt a need to comprehend the city beyond the traditional tools that architects use, and developed my own methodology to understand Jerusalem’s urban condition.

I drew what can be described as a Psychological Map; the city as seen through the experience of residents interacting with it. I was interested in what types of transportation residents used to move around the city, where they lived, what they thought about where they lived, their sense of security, the things they liked most and least about their city, what they would say to the mayor if they were to meet with him. Ten in depth interviews were conducted with a range of residents; store owners and clerks, a retired professor, a journalist. From their answers an understanding of the city emerged.

Residents who had to deal with checkpoints coming into the city were profoundly more negative and pessimistic than those who didn’t. They were visibly tired and seemed frustrated beyond hope. I became curious about the checkpoints from their responses, and decided to visit so that I could observe what the people I interviewed were talking about. I went to Kalandia checkpoint multiple times to conduct research in this specific urban condition, with the goal of finding an architecture project with “an uncanny truth”.

As an American Jew pre-disposed to being sympathetic to Israel, I went to Kalandia with the understanding that the checkpoint was a necessary security apparatus to protect residents of Jerusalem from terrorists attacks.

After walking through the Kalandia checkpoint, I came away with a different understanding. The checkpoints can be understood as a circulation machine with the need for security and while the term “checkpoint” is militaristic, their function is similar to an airport or border crossing. Someone needs to evaluate your papers and evaluate you before allowing you to pass or refusing you entry.

The way the checkpoint at Kalandia works is something else entirely, something totally foreign. The experience of going through it remains beyond easy description or comprehension.

Kalandia Checkpoint circulation diagram © Harris Silver

The physical description is straightforward. There are two basic buildings. The first building functions as a waiting area before you allowed into Israel. The second building is the procession into Israel. The waiting area is approximately 72′ x 48′. There is a roof for shade cover and the walls are open like a cage allowing air to circulate. At the far wall there are two bathrooms. When I was there both were locked with big metal chains going through holes where the door knobs used to be. From the looks of it, it seemed that they had been like that for a while, which is probably why the entire place smelled like urine. Between the two bathrooms there was a small space that was filled with garbage, giving the impression that there was not regular maintenance. Towards the back wall there were 4 benches approximately 10′ long for sitting. Near the bathroom there was one long bench and two smaller ones. Facing the front there were 3 circular water fountains. Two of them were not working.

On the other side of the wall there was a big box approximately 12′ wide and 16’ long that has 3 windows facing the waiting area. Between the box and the waiting area there was another layer of metal caging. CCTV cameras and speakers are attached to the outside of the box. The box would randomly yell at people in the waiting area; the volume, unnecessarily, jarringly loud.

Waiting is a big part of the experience. The first time I was at the checkpoint, I was with 5 classmates and we were forced to wait approximately 45 minutes before we were allowed back into Israel after an evening in Ramallah. This was late at night and the checkpoint was empty. The only real purpose for the wait seemed to be a small punishment, a way to discourage us from visiting the West Bank, because nothing puts a damper on a nice evening out, like a place that feels like a cage, smells like urine and has a box that yells at you. During the day a similar tactic is used. Wait times are unpredictable, which means it’s impossible to keep to a professional schedule when you also have to negotiate checkpoints to get into Israel. People often spend hours getting to Jerusalem when it should take minutes.

Children passing through Kalandia © Harris Silver

You wait until the box yells that the gates are open then enter one of two metal cage-like chutes that are 18″ wide by 30′ long; this begins the process of getting to Jerusalem. The chutes are half the minimum width required by architectural code for a passageway, making the chutes more like something livestock would be required to walk through to be transferred from point “A” to point “B” than a human.

At the end of the chute is a revolving door very much like a NYC subway exit door, except it’s smaller, and more constricting. This revolving door is operated electronically and sometimes it would move smoothly. Other times there would be long pauses, preventing people in the chutes from proceeding.

Once you pass through the revolving door you enter you enter a wider space and choose one of three hallways (only 1 was open on all my trips) and have to pass through another electronically controlled revolving door. The same tactic is used here to control the door, however as this one is not a single file line, more aggressive people move through the crowd to the front. This felt like it could be dangerous. Once you are past this you deal with the radiological part of your visit. A comparatively simple walk through a metal detector where you put anything you are carrying with you through a scanner.

You then turn and face the wall to your left, the stomach of the monster, turns out to be the first place you see its face. It is the face you might see on a travel brochure to Israel, a young Israeli soldier who received Kalandia duty as part of their mandatory army service. Through a speaker system that was set once again on too-loud, you are asked to show your I.D. by slipping it through a slot underneath the glass barrier. Inside the box, other young army soldiers are operating computers. There were biometric readers that I assume people that move through the checkpoint regularly use.

If you are approved for entry to Israel you walk down a long corridor. One can assume that on both sides of you there are people watching you through one way glass. When you get to the end you turn right and walk another 50′ and exit a door into Israel. From there you can get back on a bus, or taxi that will take you to wherever you want to go in Jerusalem.

3D Model of Kalandia, Google screen shot – Courtesy of Harris Silver

That was a physical description. This is a description of how the monster behaves. On my last trip through the checkpoint I was with a colleague who has a pacemaker. He is not allowed to walk through medical detectors on doctors orders. We walked to a gate that was labeled “Disabled” and pushed the call button. There was no response. We pushed again. Again no response. I walked to the head of the monster and politely, in almost good enough Hebrew explained the situation. We waited and waited and waited. Finally, we went through, two kids were in the stomach of the monster. One was asleep sprawled over 3 chairs, another wearing a kippah. He pretended not to speak English. I explain the situation in my crappy Hebrew. He tells us to go through. I ask to speak to his supervisor. He picks up the phone, puts it down and says, “He said to go through” I ask, “Are you a doctor?” He says, “No.” I ask, “Is the person you spoke with who said it’s ok to go through a doctor?” He says, “No”. I point to my classmate and say, “His doctor said he can’t pass through metal detectors. It’s a medical issue.” The Army kid with the kippah says, “Take a taxi to another checkpoint.” We head back to the head of the machine. Again we explain the situation. A female voice barks, “Go to gate Z”. We go to the gate. We wait. We push the button. No response. We wait some more. We finally go through. I explain to a soldier that my classmate has a pacemaker and on doctor’s orders can’t go through a metal detector and asked that he be searched by hand. We are told, “No.” We ask to speak to a supervisor, a captain. “No Captain. No supervisor,” we are told. Not sure what to do, we call the ambulance service. The operator asks where we are. We tell her, “Kalandia checkpoint”. She says “There is nothing I can do. I can’t tell the military do to anything. This is a police matter. I am sorry.” We approach the box again and are told, “Take a taxi to another checkpoint.” This is an answer? After 1.5 hours of trying to talk to someone to have him hand searched we were turned back. There was no medical accommodation for him to pass through the checkpoint. The entrance to the city of Jerusalem was closed to him even though his hotel and his belongings were in Jerusalem, he had an American passport, and unlike Israeli citizens a legal right to be there.

An Arab woman approaches us and lets us know that Americans are allowed to ride on the bus through the checkpoint. We exit the humiliation machine and instead of taking a taxi to the next checkpoint, we enter a bus by flashing our American passports. The bus is then boarded by two heavily armed guards. A guy and a girl. The machine works better when humans have to face each other. The interaction is civil. We take the bus back to Jerusalem and I shower to cleanse myself from the experience.

Mom and infant passing through Kalandia Checkpoint © Harris Silver

On others trips I observed women with babies, children, school kids, elderly and infirm people passing through, all subject to humiliation. A mother holding an infant is not a terrorist, kids going to school are not terrorists, but the humiliation machine doesn’t discriminate. It enrages all who interact with it; a dumb machine designed to de-spirit humans in the guise of performing border security.

If people are going to be let into Jerusalem through a security apparatus, it doesn’t make sense to create an apparatus that is so onerous and upsetting that it leads to less security not more security. I believe the radicalization of stake holders can be read as a signal of larger systemic issues with the checkpoint system that is dangerous to Israeli society.

There are some very simple short-term programmatic, functional and behavioral adjustments that can immediately improve conditions for Palestinians and start to make Israel safer as well. There is no security reason not to implement them immediately.

All IDF soldiers that work at checkpoints should speak Arabic. The time it takes to pass through the checkpoints should be reduced from hours to minutes. Israel citizens and media should be allowed to visit Kalandia. Israeli ambulances should be able to operate at Kalandia. The pedestrian and automobile conflicts outside of the checkpoints should be removed so that entering the checkpoint on foot is safe. Standardized architectural code should be adhered to. All the signs should be clear and readable in Arabic, Hebrew and English. There should be accommodations and express entry for people with medical issues, elderly, infants and young children. Any space that sees thousands of people every day needs functioning bathrooms and working water fountains. There needs to be daily maintenance to clean floors, remove garbage and maintain bathrooms.

These buildings are temporary structures which means they are almost as easy to take down as they are to put up. What this also means is that their temporary nature can be used in an attempt to control memory of place. This is a very dangerous and short sighted policy that the Israeli government is engaging in. Because even though it’s inevitable that this humiliation machine will transform over time, become more humanized and start to function more like a border crossing, the memory of the people who experienced it is not going to go away and that memory will become indexed as a collective memory within the Palestinian culture, which will then be connected to Jewish rule of Jerusalem. No consideration in their operation is given to the understanding of the historical consequences of their operation. Literally the short term view does not have a long term perspective.

I had found an “uncanny truth” now I had to go make a project.

About the Author:

Harris Silver received his Masters in Architecture from SCI-Arc in 2011. Prior to pursuing his architectural training, Harris was the President of Think Tank 3, an award winning branding and advertising agency based in NYC with Fortune 100 and high profile non-profit clients. Always interested in the urban environment, he founded Citystreets an idea-based transportation non-profit that successfully advocated for change in the urban tectonic from cars to people through policy, infrastructure and technology interventions. This interest in urban issues, transportation and how the built environment effects our lives led Harris to pursue his Masters In Architecture at SCI-Arc where he has also participated in the Sci-Fi (SCI-Arc’s Urban Studies Program). While at SCI-Arc his entry in the Urban Infrastructure competition titled A New Infrastructure: Innovative Transit Solutions for LA/2009 was selected for exhibition as well as publication in a book about the competition published by the SCI-Arc press.

Cite: Rosenfield, Karissa. "Kalandia Checkpoint. The First New Gate To Jerusalem in 466 Years." 15 Sep 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 22 Oct 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=274013>
  • Albert

    Any chance to see names of Israeli civilians murdered by Palestinian suicide bombers posted here? This so called report is nothing but cheap pro-Palestinian propaganda.

    • MySchizoBuddy

      So now the Israel’s are afraid of infants. that is height of cowardice.
      They should also show the over half a million palestinians killed by Israel’s. Where are the pictures of them?

      • guywearingsocks

        One could hide explosives in the babies garments, yes? But terrorists would never exploit a child like that certainly…

        My grandmother is forced to remove her shoes before domestic flights in the US, maybe a few blown-up night clubs and school buses would make us even more wary as well.

        Half million killed, wtf are you talking about? There are these things called books, some even contain history, try reading one.

      • Ehud

        over half a million hha?

  • Vlad

    Facanating, if author would experience the terror Israelis have to live with then maybe he would not write this propagandistic garbage?

  • Alex

    Oh, again some one writing “as a Jewish person…” It has nothing to do with your nationality it has everything to do with Pal terror!

  • giovani montagner

    Free Palestine!

  • Albert

    Stop the terror and it will be free.

    • MySchizoBuddy

      So if people don’t fight for their freedom, Israel will give them their freedom. If I don’t want cookies you will force me to take cookies.What idiotic argument is this.

      Freedom is never given it is always taken from Oppressing nations.
      This is a cowardly stance from Israel’s that claim to be victims of Holocaust. Victims of mass murder don’t condemn others to mass murder.

  • Martin Hedin

    I had a Palestinian colleague working in a hotel in Stockholm, he explained how it is really easy as a Palestinian to leave Israel to go abroad, much easier than actually living in the country. It seems obvious that the Israelis just want the Palestinians to leave and go somewhere else.

  • farah qadan

    thank u for ur honesty ,,,wish u all the luck with ur project

  • farah qadan

    thank u for being honest Harris ,,, the effort u’v put in this ,is very obvious ..u’have showed us how to be fair and humane no mater who we are …very interesting article ..wish u all the luck with ur uncanny truth .

  • Al

    Stop lying about 500000 Pals. Even idiotic propaganda should have limits.

    • Martin Hedin

      What do you mean? No one has mentioned 500.000 Palestinians.

  • Roma

    I thik antisemitic schizo sounds better

  • Alex

    Everyone on here seems to think that this issue is so black and white. We have posters proclaiming, ‘Free Palestine’, and others saying that Palestine is a terror-spewing monster. There are wrongs and writes on both sides. Does Israel really need such an elaborate, possibly dehumanizing checkpoint? No. But are there actual, concrete terror threats to Israel from Palestine? Yes. When one is backed into a corner, they often do things that may be considered… overzealous. Israel, surrounded by countries that publicly state that their wish is to ‘destroy the Zionist entity’, is backed into a corner. And because of this situation, they lash out in ways that they otherwise shouldn’t. In war time, everyone does things that don’t adhere to what one might consider to be ‘moral’. No single group can be solely at fault for what is happening in Israel right now. Tensions, and emotions, run high, and people are quick to snap, and spit. This article, and it’s author, are one of such people.

  • David Kranz

    Whilst I support healthy conversation about these kinds of issues I feel that narrow and selective types of insights are very unhelpful. You selective and assuming essay above shows no sign of a balanced argument or even mention the reasons these facilities exist in the first place… as if Israel has nothing better to do than humiliate people. Speaking about the checkpoints architectural merit is almost laughable when considering Israel’s extremely stretched defence budget. Perhaps your next “uncanny truth” should look at the Israeli teenager who has to spend three years of his life sitting at a checkpoints hoping that no 14 year old boys will approach with a bomb around his chest.

  • Martin Hedin

    I am just curious, people here that are criticizing the article for being propaganda. Do you mean that the description of the checkpoint is incorrect? (Measurements of doorways, toilets being locked etc)
    Or do you mean that people passing through the checkpoint do not deserve better, and we should not talk about this (because of terrorist acts of others, this should not be a topic of discussion)

  • Al

    Antisemitic lie that 500000 Pals were killed

  • Ariel

    Interesting article. Good obsorvations.
    I’m a jew, living in abroad. I spent my 5. semester in the architecture department in Bezalel, Jerusalem, studying these exact matters. I have travelled from Israel to the west bank several times, experiencing these “monsters”, and I must agree with Alex.
    There are good things and bad things in the matter of the checkpoints. Undoubtably, these places are not very human, and it goes on the expense of woman, children, elderly etc. On the other hand you have to consider, that the wall has saved hundreds of jewish lives. This is facts (From wikipedia):
    Israeli government sources have stated that since the barrier has been built, Israeli security has improved with regard to suicide bombings.[5][37] According to statistics published by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Israel Security Agency, from the beginning of the Second Intifada until the construction of the “first continuous segment” of the barrier in July 2003, 73 Palestinian suicide bombings were carried out from the West Bank, killing 293 Israelis and injuring over 1,900. However, between August 2003 and the end of 2006, only 12 attacks were carried out based in the West Bank, killing 64 Israelis and wounding 445.[4] The trend continued into 2007,[4] and 2008 as well.[38] The number of fatalities due to terror attacks have continued to exhibit a steady decline since 2002, from 452 in 2002 to 9 in 2010.

    It must therefor be our job as architects to focus on, and improve such places, without bringing politics into the matter.

  • Harris Silver

    Hi,

    I’m the author. I was really expecting a higher level of discourse in the comment as this article speaks to the power of architecture.

    The only thing I can think of saying is to share a private email from a deal friend of mine

    “Wow. A dispiriting level of hatred and animosity in the comments. Still, have to say, it does not leave one hopeful about the prospects for peace in the middle east–let alone any useful discourse about it.”

  • arch.hala

    thank you.. i like what you wrote .. really our architecture can really enrolled in our life discover our problems and our suffering and feel that very well .. really thank you Harries .. i am Palestinian , and i am from Gaza . i have never visit Jerusalem ,never pass Kalandia – checkpoint… but after reading your essay i really can feel clearly what is going there .
    I agree with you that Israel do not realize the truth of checkpoints… checkpoints which is going to be a part of our memories and culture in future

  • Dan Cohen

    Hi Harris,

    As a fellow American Jew (and human being), I appreciate your perspective. I spent several weeks in Israel and the West Bank in 2010 and passed through the Kalandia checkpoint several times, in addition to others.

    The one part I disagree with is this:
    “Which means I was not fully capable of participating in the Israeli-Palestinian discourse.”

    I wholeheartedly agree that passing through the checkpoint (or attempting to do so) provides insight into the daily humiliation and frustrations of Palestinians who live in the West Bank. However, I don’t think that this is the single benchmark for being able to participate in this discourse. For instance, there are millions of Palestinian refugees who live in refugee camps in surrounding countries who may never even have the opportunity to pass through Kalandia, and they suffer in their own ways too. There are also Palestinians who received Israeli citizenship after 1948 (Arab Israelis) who face discrimination inside Israel similar to the Jim Crow South, and they will probably not pass through Kalandia. I suppose what I am saying is the conflict cannot be defined by a single experience. This is a minor bone to pick, however I think it is important.

    I was raised as a Reform Jew, and even had my Bar Mitzvah in Israel. Through high school, supporting Israel was part of my identity as a Jew, and though I had never met a Palestinian, the first word that would come to mind was ‘terrorism.’

    In college, I took a course on the history of the Israeli-Arab conflict and began to see fault on both sides of the conflict. I began to realize that the history I knew was the official version, which is written by the side that won. This is all too common in history; the narrative is controlled by the powerful side. I began to understand the context that the conflict exists in today, and became more critical of Israeli policies.

    Over the 2010 New Year, I went on a Birthright trip, and spent a few months traveling Israel, the West Bank, Jordan and Egypt. I found myself deeply dissatisfied with the program ignoring the conflict as if it there was nothing happening. Any attempt I made to open up discourse was met with silence or admonishing from other people on the trip.

    When I told fellow Birthrighters I was planning on going to the West Bank, they thought I was crazy. When I told Israelis, they told me I would be killed simply because I am an American Jew. I was a bit intimidated, but had a friend of a friend who showed me around for a day in the West Bank. Contrary to what I was warned, I found Palestinian culture to be incredibly warm and inviting, and I never felt compelled to hide my identity as an American Jew. In fact, I felt the most danger in the presence of Israeli soldiers.

    I spent time in Ramallah, Nablus, Hebron, Qalqilya, and the Shu’fat refugee camp, and saw absolutely horrific things as well as some inspiring. Similar to what you described, I left with a much bigger and more nuanced perspective.

    I eventually came to realize that the conflict is not nearly as complex as I had been told it was for so long. The ‘peace process’ was a farce, the Israeli government has no interest in truly resolving it from a rights-based approach, nor does the Palestinian leadership. I became mentally captivated by the conflict, and began to differentiate between Zionism and Judaism.

    I found Zionism to be in conflict with my core values: human rights, justice, equality, etc. The bloody history that is continually suppressed by major media outlets, even our ‘liberal’ institutions like the NY Times, showed me the power that we American Jews hold in this conflict.

    I came to the realization that the concept of a Jewish state meant horrific realities like Kalandia. I realized the concept of a state with Jewish values was purely rhetorical. Are human rights violations part of Jewish values? What is it about a Jewish state that could provide better human rights than a secular state? Would we accept the United States as a ‘Christian state?’ The hypotheticals are endless, and in my mind, all lead to Zionism, at it’s core, being a racist ideology.

    The sad irony to me is that the international laws that were established in the Geneva Convention after World War 2 and the Nazi Holocaust were created to protect everyone (including Jews) from the horrors I was witnessing. These laws are ignored by the powers that be. The Kalandia checkpoint is a perfect example of collective punishment, which is illegal under international law.

    I now consider myself an Anti-Zionist, and I advocate for a single state solution. Indeed, I think we are already there. Israel controls the West Bank and Gaza through the military. There is no Palestinian leadership that has control in the realm that Israel does. Into the future, the possibilities are two: Israel will continue it’s freefall into South Africa style apartheid, which is a form of the one-state solution. Or, Israel will extend rights to all Palestinians and recognize the right of return of millions of refugees who were left stateless after 1948.

    For those who want the issue of suicide bombings addressed, it should go without saying that attacking civilian populations is a despicable act. With that said, I’ll quote JFK:

    “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

    I apologize for the rather sloppy nature of this post, but I urge all to consider the nature of a Jewish state and a secular state.

    Peace,
    Dan Cohen

    • owais

      Just want to say thanks

      • Dan Cohen

        @owais, it’s a pleasure to share my perspective. Thank you!

  • Ehud

    want to understad the situation? like in architecture,try to zoom out and to zoom in again and repeat. these details you talk about will make more sense if you’ll get the big picture.

    islam will explode in your face one day, literally.

    and since when this mag became a political mag? as a middle east resident, this is where i find some serinity, arcdaily dont pollute your site with these articls.

    • Soud

      “islam will explode in your face one day, literally.”
      Wow, as a Muslim I find that quite offensive.
      I think everyone commenting on this should at least attempt to understand the peaceful nature of Islam and stop spewing this nonsense of “Islam’s violence”.
      It is our belief that harming innocent civilians is wrong, even if they happen to be the children, wives, parents of the forces that oppress you.

      If someone is pushed to point to committing suicide (eg. suicide bombers) they are either really desperate or just stupid enough to listen to the garbage certain individuals who claim to understand Islam and act as Islamic leaders spew. In my opinion those people are just as evil as those who dehumanize people and they are just as evil as Hitler.

      It saddens me that a nation as powerful as Isreal and its supporters claim they are the “weaklings” who are surrounded by these aggressive maniacs who want to annihilate them…

  • s.e.

    brilliant… architecture encapsulates the full range of our realities, political, social, cultural and of course, emotional realities, in their minutia… it defines our experiences in its presence, absence, conception and intention… our apropos to study humanity and its predicament through its (architecture’s) singular lens… thank you…

  • dneus

    I think Harris’ article is both brave and well-written. It inevitably communicates the effect that “crossing to the the side” has on one’s political outlook. Without attempting to justify here either Israeli policy or Palestinian indignation, it seems evident that the physical infrastructure of the crossing could be greatly improved. The seemingly purposeful discomfort generated by the border crossing, which Harris has focussed on to an admirable level of detail, could be ameliorated through servicing, materiality, signage, acoustics, communication and increased processing efficiency. No doubt increased cooperation between security personnel on both sides of the crossing would help.

    It is important to note that experiences such as this dehumanise both sides. I would not want to trade places with the Israeli guards, depicted here as imbeciles but more likely locked in a state of constant watchfulness and paranoia.

    I have a quasi-religious belief in the power of architecture to improve human experience. That might just be my naivety, but it pleases me to see someone making that case here.

  • Shadi Ossaili

    اعتقد انه على العرب ان يقرأو هذا المقال لكي يعلمو ان الفلسطينين يعانون معانة يومية بالمعنى ( الحرفي ) و ليس فقط عندما تقوم اسرائيل بشن غارة على احدى المناطق الفلسطينية , ربما البعض منا قد نسي ذلك .

    Thank you Harris Silver

  • Greg Morelli

    There’s no such thing as “Religious Values.” If you’re Religious, it means your Imaginary Friend is better than my Imaginary Friend. Oh, and one more thing, there’s no such thing as Holy Land. It’s Holy Life.

    And it’s fleeting, so enjoy it.

    We need separation of church and state. We need separation of temple and state. We need separation of mosque and state. Otherwise, you get a government of extremists who pretend compromise is a reflection of weakness, when it’s the opposite.

    Imagine what could have been created with all the money spent on the Kalandia Checkpoint. There never seems to be a shortage of money to go around for walls and guns. There never seems to be a shortage of jobs created by manning walls with guns.

    Maybe that’s why we’re here: to play bang-bang shoot-shoot on behalf of an Imaginary Friend instead of rolling-up our sleeves and getting down to the real work, in our lifetime, of ending poverty.

  • Albert

    Mr. Silver, what did you expect? You wrote this propagandistic pamphlet ignoring all the horrors of Palestinian terror directed at women and children in Israel. You “forgot” all innocent civilians killed by the deranged haters from the west bank, killed in restorants, universities, hospitals, kindergartens… did you expect that Jewish people are suicidal as their murderers and they will do nothing about it? This is beyond redicolous, this is outrageous and physically sickening how biased and hateful you are being so sympathetic to the “pain and suffering” of one side of this conflict and, as a “Jewish” person, being so hateful and ignorant of the pain and suffering of another side.

  • Pingback: Kalandia Checkpoint. The First New Gate To Jerusalem in 466 Years. | nyc-taxi.com

  • harris Silver

    Please allow me to take back what I said about the level of discourse in my first comment. Thank you for all the kind and intelligent words.

    I wanted to specifically address Dan’s comments.

    I shared the process of my writing this article on my blog, sketches from my notebook, drawings in progress, research, etc..

    http://inmyowndamnwords.blogspot.com/

    and one of the entries was called “Not On The Birthright Tour”.

    so Kudos to you for not sticking to the set Birthright itinerary.

    I also thought your comment about me saying that unless you have experienced the checkpoint you are not fully capable of participating in the Israeli Palestinian discourse was astute. That was directed at North American Jews. Apologies for not being clearer in the way that I wrote it. And thanks for pointing it out and allowing me to clarify.

  • Alex

    What did you expect mr. Silver after writing this Israeli-hating pamphlet? Your bias is stuttering and you ignorance of terror inflicted on Israeli women, men and children is sickening.

  • Алексей Раменский

    В России, по крайней мере в Москве, почти такие же металлические вертушки стоят на входе в троллейбусы и автобусы, и народ через них вынужден лазить как-то, и ничего. То есть эта обыденность ужасна, но как-то Израиль должен охранять себя от возможного терроризма, не правда ли? Или нужно расслабиться и дать себя взорвать как в зале рилёта в Домодедово? Видимо, в Израиле свою жизнь ценят выше, чем в Россиии – нас ведь гораздо больше. И в армии у нас солдаты убивают друг друга больше, чем гибнут от рук врагов.

  • harris Silver

    Alex,

    This comment is directed at you.

    You read like a deaf man hears.

  • Martin Hedin

    Alex,

    Mr.Silver is not questioning the existence of the checkpoints, only saying that bathrooms should not be locked, and corridors not be to narrow. I do not find that being Israel-hating pamphlet.

    Israel should follow international law and standards as everyone else. Being under attack from terrorist does not give you the right to ignore human rights. (Such as being able to go to the bathroom)