Kalandiya residents apathetic to Gaza’s ‘March of Return’

“It’s not a good situation in Gaza, but we can’t afford to take part in the protests when we have families."

April 2, 2018 19:12
2 minute read.
Palestinians wait to cross through Israeli Kalandiya checkpoint

Palestinians wait to cross through Israeli Kalandiya checkpoint. (photo credit: MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/REUTERS)


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Residents of Kalandiya said “We have no time,” when asked on Monday if they worried about the unrest on the Israel-Gaza border.

It was business as usual in the town as people crossed the busy checkpoint to and from school and work, or to shop in Ramallah. Streets were busy with commuters, stores were open and people were going about their daily routine normally.

Two young women who spoke to The Jerusalem Post on condition of anonymity said they were more concerned about “putting food on the table” and “looking after their families,” than taking part in or showing solidarity for what organizers dubbed the “March of Return.”
No Gaza inquiry, Israeli Defense Minister Liberman says, April 1, 2018 (Reuters)

“It’s not a good situation in Gaza, but we can’t afford to take part in the protests when we have families. We want peace, the walls must come down, the occupation must end. But causing riots on the border and in our universities is pointless.”

The younger of the two, a 10th-grade student, said she wants to bring children into a peaceful country. “I hate the walls and occupation. It needs to change, but I can’t worry about Gaza now. I want to finish school, get an education and then I will join the struggle.

My priority is school. I want to be a lawyer and fight the occupation at the UN.”

The older woman added that it was a “bad move” on Hamas’s part to try to organize the march. “Yes it’s brought attention to the plight of the Palestinians, but look, Hamas couldn’t even keep it going for more than five days... They promised it would carry on until Nakba [Catastrophe] Day [on May 15] but they’re cleaning up the border area now. Everyone has stopped taking part, the momentum is gone...16 or 17 youngsters died and for what? By tomorrow, people won’t care anymore. The world cared for a minute.”

“I don’t know if you can call such actions martyrdom like Hamas is saying,” she stressed.

Asked if other residents in her neighborhood felt the same, the woman said: “Yes, everyone wants to get on with their lives here, do what they need to day-to-day. If you protest here on the main road [Ramallah Road], you stop people from going to work, from making a living and from putting food on the table.”

She added that she did not have the answer as to how or what was needed to end the “occupation,” but hoped some sort of peace deal would come soon. However, she was skeptical it would happen after US President Donald Trump’s announcement in which he recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

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