Since 2001 we have observed dozens of army checkpoints on paved and unpaved roads in the West Bank, the Jordan Valley and along the Separation Fence; Civil Administration offices which grant permits to Palestinians; and military courts trying Palestinian prisoners. We stand at the checkpoints observing the behavior of soldiers and Palestinians without interfering, intervening only when soldiers behave offensively to Palestinians. Then we try to speak to the soldiers themselves or telephone...
Hebron, Sansana, South Hebron Hills, Tue 10.11.09, Morning
According to Wye Plantation Accords (1997), Hebron is divided in two: H1 is under Palestinian Authority control, H2 is under Israeli control. In Hebron there are 170,000 Palestinian citizens, 60,000 of them in H2. Between the two areas are permanent checkpoints, manned at all hours, preventing Palestinian movement between them and controlling passage of permit holders such as teachers and schoolchildren. Some 800 Jews live in Avraham Avinu Quarter and Tel Rumeida, on Givat HaAvot and in the wholesale market.
Checkpoints observed in H2:
- Bet Hameriva CP- manned with a pillbox
- Kapisha quarter CP (the northern side of Zion axis) - manned with a pillbox
- The 160 turn CP (the southern side of Zion axis) - manned with a pillbox
- Avraham Avinu quarter - watch station
- The pharmacy CP - checking inside a caravan with a magnometer
- Tarpat (1929) CP - checking inside a caravan with a magnometer
- Tel Rumeida CP - guarding station
- Beit Hadassah CP - guarding station
Three checkpoints around the Tomb of the Patriarchs
Translator: Charles K.
06:40 A few laborers at the Sansana checkpoint; most have already gone through on their way to work in Israel.
Groups of children walking along Route 60 on their long way to school. Rain begins; we’re in the heated transit and they’re exposed to the rain and the danger from traffic on the road, or slogging through the mud on the shoulder.
I haven’t done my weekly shift for over a month, and it suddenly all looks different and impossible. My heart fell, just as it did the first time. At the Carmel settlement, for example, new buildings had sprung up, spilling down the hillsides. A synagogue, whose construction had for a long time not advanced, making me think, for some reason, that this monster had been stopped in its tracks, now dominates the winding road below like a fortress, the building completed, covered in yellow stucco, roofed in red, artistically curved tiles, with a profusion of huge windows.
Many more “Hish’til” greenhouses at Susia, now reaching the road.
The beginnings of massive construction at the entrance to Hebron. This irregularity suddenly jumps out at you. When the hell did all this happen?
At the Pharmacy checkpoint, in pouring rain, a soldier stops a boy on his way to school: the magnemometer beeps as the boy goes through. The boy is wet and irritated, sits on the curb with the soldier standing over him. He refuses to open his briefcase for inspection. The soldier insists and the boy still refuses. Finally, after we intercede, the boy changes his mind, the briefcase opens and reveals “the ultimate weapon”: a metal ruler!! The suspicious ruler is immediately confiscated. After a minute or two the soldier realizes how ridiculous that is and returns it, and yells at us not to interfere any more, to move back, and that we’re allowed only to watch in silence.
Two new barriers have been erected, on either side of the plaza in front of the Cave of the Patriarchs; they’re said to be temporary, while repairs are underway in the plaza. We’ll follow up on that.
Near the Tarqumiya crossing we turn left and see a double guard force: the IDF and the Palestinian Authority.
On the way back
Next to the settlement of Imanu’el, the police stopped us for inspection, and again at the Sansana crossing where we were told to move into the inspection area, but were then sent on our way.