These 10 photos were taken on 22 May 2005 and show the passage from the point of arrival at the border of Gaza to the point of entry into Gaza. A sign at the entrance to the passage says in faulty Arabic: “Continuing with violence results in the withholding of ease of access and luxury for the people.” The passage is similar to the design developed by Temple Grandin (an assistant professor at Colorado State University) for the routing of cattle as they are led to slaughter. The Israelis are on the scene through remote control. When a person exiting from Gaza approaches the turnstile, a disembodied voice, rough and rude, tells him or her to drop bags to the floor, to lift up clothes, turn around, etc.
The waiting is interminable when there are a lot of people. Most of the time now, the place is deserted, as very few permits are given to people to get out or to go in. One photo shows Israeli soldiers erecting a barrier on top of a barrier. In Gaza, the entire population is effectively imprisoned. Not only are the many refugees and their descendants blocked by Israel from returning to their homes in places like Bir Sabe’ (now Beersheba), but so also are thousands of laborers prevented from earning a living in Israel or the West Bank.
Rima Merriman is a freelance writer and a communications specialist. She worked in the West Bank for four months in late 2004.