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, Mon 21.5.12, 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.
Everything’s as usual all along the way. No laborers at the checkpoint, Highway 60 is quiet with normal traffic, nothing out of the ordinary.
What will we report on today, I asked; it’s bearable when nothing unusual occurs, but it’s also boring.
“Wait,” said Hagit. So I waited.
The “Nofei Mamreh” neighborhood at the entrance to Kiryat Arba is still separated physically from the rest of the town. Not all the valley lands of the Jaber family have been expropriated yet.
But extensive infrastructure works are underway here; it looks like the road is being widened. “The sons’ road to the patriarchs’ city,” or perhaps some other project? We’ll wait and see.
Hebron never disappoints. There’s never a dull moment.
This holy city is filled today with visitors. Border Police soldiers are everywhere, on the roofs as well.
The large lot between Beit Hamachpela and the Cave of the Patriarchs is filled many kinds of buses. Their signs say they’re from Mate Binyamin and Drom Har Hevron.
One group of buses is wrapped in settlers, pupils and their teachers. Circles of boys dance next to the signs reading, “We bought, we paid, it’s ours” – great joy.
“Od Avinu,” “Am Yisrael…” and other songs sound loudly In the background. A little farther off is another bus wrapped in women and children from the same places.
They all came to support and encourage those sitting in the protest tent. Afterwards they too, like so many others today, will visit the Cave of the Patriarchs.
Deafening Chassidic music also plays in the plaza outside, where many school tours take the required “values education” route.
At another end of that same broad plaza park buses carrying Moslem tourists from India.
But they’re not allowed to ascend the same stairs to the plaza. They walk around to the end of Shuhada street, turn right, cross to the Moslem half of the sidewalk divided along its entire length – those who pray to Elohim; those who pray to Allah. They enter the tomb of the Patriarch Abraham through the Moslem entrance.
Later they’ll return by the same route, descend broken, wobbly steps that only they can use, go back to the buses to continue their journey through the holy land.
We continued. This city of absurdities carries on as usual. A squad of soldiers marches along Shuhada street. Anat Cohen pops out of her car; she has something to say to one of them.
Soldiers as usual at the Tarpa”t, Tel Rumeida and Pharmacy checkpoints. No one was detained this time.
Orit Struck also passes by the Tarpa”t checkpoint, photographs the truck that stopped to distribute ice cream pops to the soldiers. On the counter, in addition to the ice cream and a smile, the soldiers will also see a charity collection box. Too much “sanctity” for one day.
We drove back to the day-to-day, to buy vegetables and labaneh.