The Two Sides of Qalandia Checkpoint Part 7: The Badge

A few days ago, as I was waiting in the “Lane for Humanitarian Causes”, I noticed a badge on the soldier’s military outfit. It appeared to be the image of a tree branch, a sword, a wall, some sort of yellow animal with the background being blue and white. The tree branch is what caught my eye.

While waiting for close to two hours in a crowded area between bars, I took a glance at the permit and noticed the badge design printed on the top right corner. I looked at the ID cards one can obtain from the state of Israel, and there it was.

“What do you think this stands for?” I asked my friend, pointing to the design on the ID card.
“Well,” she began looking closely at it. “The wall looks like the walls of Jerusalem…like David’s castle. The tree branch must be an olive tree branch.”
“You think so?” I asked, raising an eyebrow.
“What else would it be?”

I went back to our good friend, Google, and surely, Wikipedia had it posted that the olive tree was a symbol of peace. How ironic is that?

Two sides and the olive tree torn in half, once in Yasser Arafat’s speech at the UN General Assembly and once on the badge of soldiers belonging to one of the cruelest occupations. Once in the poems of Mahmoud Darwish and once burnt to the ground.


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