Translator: Charles K.
06:33 We drove from Shokat junction straight to Hebron to arrive on time to see the children walking to school.
A military vehicle waits at the fence near Kramim for people in Israel illegally who are clearly visible on the opposite hill.
We didn’t stop at the checkpoint because from a distance it appeared empty; only the last laborers were crossing.
Three buses transporting relatives of prisoners passed us going in the opposite direction.
A soldier at the Kvasim junction walks a kindergarten girl across the street.
Leah, who’d come from Jerusalem, joined us at the Kiryat Arba gas station. The military unit stationed at the Federman farm has been relieved; the new flags fly in the wind.
Curve 160 is full of military personnel.
We stood for about half an hour at the Pharmacy junction with the four foreigners who also observe the pupils crossing. One is a Palestinian Moslem who used to live on Mount Scopus and emigrated to the cold lands. While we were there a bus transporting settler pupils drove by, bearing a sign reading “In IDF service.”
Giv’ati soldiers man the Tarpa”t checkpoint. Since we didn’t recognize them by their caps we asked one of the soldiers which unit they belonged to. He was pleasant and replied, which greatly annoyed one of the other soldiers who’d just returned from a patrol, so when we returned that soldier stopped us and asked for our driver’s ID card but firmly refused to receive ours.
A convoy of water tankers was leaving Kiryat Arba to deliver water to the area around Hebron.
On our way back we saw an archaeological salvage excavation near the Ma’on settlement, and stopped. It turned out that there’s a “Greater Ma’on” outline plan, so the Civil Administration archaeology officer is undertaking a salvage excavation, the second one, about one kilometer above Ma’on. The archaeologist told us that the Tawwani excavation was also a salvage operation since there’s an outline plan for Tawwani as well. He said it had been developed jointly with the residents (do we know anything about that?). The excavation will continue for 10-14 days. The diggers are Palestinians with “settlement” work permits.
We promised to return next week to see the finds.
Nothing happened –miserable and neglected H2 Hebron is breathing the occupation routine in its entirety.
We took the lists of children registered for the sea-days (organized by another group of Israeli women, not MW). We also received the phone no. of Leah from the Kiryat Arba Pedagogic Centre[?]
Mothers and their children are walking in the heat where Palestinian vehicles are prohibited and there are some Muslim pilgrims too…
Translator: Charles K.
06:30 Most of the laborers at the Sansana checkpoint have already crossed to the Israeli side; dozens still wait for their rides. Next to the revolving gate we meet a CPT representative. He says about 4,000 people crossed this morning, without any unusual incidents. A short distance along Highway 60 we see a large sign by the roadside: “Welcome to Har Hebron – Come to visit, come to connect, come to stay.”
We turn onto Highway 317 and…”Fulfill your dreams in Sussiya,” flags of the homeland waving gently along the road in the morning breeze. The highway is empty, deserted, as is the little village of a-Taywwani. We stopped next to the “archaeological excavations” carried out about a year ago. We looked around – the excavations are fine! And the landowner, who wanted only to lay a water line in order to have flowing water at home was”granted” a dubious structure for his sheep. But water? Nope.
We wanted to accompany the children on their way to school but it was too early so we drove on to Hebron.
We passed the Carmel settlement where a sign proclaims “Carmel’s new neighborhood – 13 housing units;” construction is well-advanced. Just this morning Ha’aretz reported that the Americans gave their tacit consent to construction “only in the large blocs.” Is Carmel also in one of the “large blocs”?
We drive on. Poor villages line the road. A woman carries a pail of water on her head and holds a second in her hand, just like in the … 16th century… Along the road, before Zif junction, dozens of children walk to school.
The Ja’abari family built an additional house near the beginning of the Kiryat Arba –Hebron road. We hope it will stand a long time.
On the upper road past Beit Hameriva/Hashalom is a roadblock where some Palestinian cars whose drivers have crossing permits are allowed to stop, the driver may lift the roadblock, go through, then replace it without having to “bother” the soldiers guarding the house, and thus be able to use the road. But they’re only a chosen few. Most have to take a detour on a bumpy road restricted to Palestinians…
“There’s no limit to idiocy,” Yael says.
CPT women at the Pharmacy checkpoint tell us that Issa was arrested the day Obama met Abu Mazen and has been in jail since. They don’t know what happened to him. They also said children told them that in a booth at one of the crossings where they’re often stopped to have their schoolbags inspected there are photos of children on the wall and many times they’re asked to identify the children in the photos and asked their names. We promised to try and find out what’s going on. They also said that during 65 days, 45 children had been arrested! We later phoned a local acquaintance to find out where Issa is. It turns out he had been held for two days and then released without having been charged with anything.
We saw new signs at Tel Rumeida (only in Hebrew, of course) directing visitors “To the tombs of Yishai and Ruth – to Admot Yishai.”
There’s also a large new sign on Shuhadah Street (“King David Street,” according to Anat Cohen) at the corner of the Avraham Avinu neighborhood: “The ancient Jewish Quarter Avraham Avinu Synagogue.”
Translator: Charles K.
We left Beersheba at 06:30.
Meitar crossing was operating in a reasonable manner.
Highway 60 is open, with a little more traffic than usual (i.e., we saw 12-15 vehicles in an hour but only one military jeep).
Kiryat Arba and Hebron
drowsing; a few children go through the checkpoints on their way to school but aren’t detained.
At the Pharmacy checkpoint we met the principal of the Abrahimi boys’ school who wasn’t particularly eager to talk to us but said the army arrests many 12-13 year old boys for no reason, as a deterrent. We determined to arrive early in order to observe the children as they go through the checkpoints. At the Pharmacy checkpoint we also met CPT women who come when the children go through.
South Hebron Hills
We returned via Highway 317, stopping at Umm el Hir to visit the kindergarten – but it was closed; we were told the children were on a field trip.
Settlers from nearby Carmel wandered around the area, apparently measuring or inspecting something. They didn’t bother us.
Translator: Charles K.
A soldier mooned young Palestinian girls.
A long, winding approach road for trucks is being completed at the Meitar checkpoint.
The balloon floats in the sky above Highway 60.
Everything’s as usual on the way to Hebron.
A Walla journalist called Hagit after he heard a strange account of a soldier who’d dropped his pants and mooned onlookers. He asked us to look into it and get back to him with exact details.
Border Police soldiers at Curve 160 hadn’t heard anything about such an incident, not in their unit. Nor did passersby know of anything.
After investigating a little more it turned out that the incident occurred in the Tel Rumeida area where Shimshon battalion soldiers are now stationed. We went there. They told us that Palestinian news agencies reported on such an incident, which occurred near Beit Hadassah. We managed to locate the man who saw and documented the event with his camera. With his help, and our driver, M.’s, translation, we contacted him.
He agreed to leave his work in H1 and come meet us. He said the incident occurred the day before yesterday. Three soldiers (two in civilian clothes, one in uniform) incited the Palestinian girls living near Beit Hadassah. They cursed them (he’s embarrassed to repeat what they said), etc. He started photographing. The soldiers began cursing him: sharmouta [bitch], etc. He continued to photograph when one of the soldiers, wearing green pants, turned around and dropped them in front of the women.
The Palestinian filed a complaint about the soldiers at the Kiryat Arba police station. They called the unit commander and also brought the soldiers. The man who complained told us that apparently they took the matter seriously and the soldiers were punished. That’s cold comfort.
We put the journalist in contact with the man who’d taken the photographs. We’ve done our part.
Two detainees at the Pharmacy checkpoint. The Border Police soldiers answer us politely today as well. They say they have to check something, and that the detainees will probably be released very soon. The two detainees say that live nearby and are detained every day. We were pleased to see that everything ended well in a few minutes.
A towed vehicle near the checkpoint, with equipment to disperse demonstrations, ready for action.
As usual, Hebron never brings out the best in anyone.
At 7:30 an the Meitar checkpoint is clear but many workers are waiting on the Israeli side for their transport. Two luxurious buses are also waiting, presumably for prisoners' families (from information received the process of check visitors at the Sharon women's prison has been tightened and the visiting time thus reduced. (See: Women`s Organization for Political Prisoners (WOFPP)
Hebron and K Arba are dozing in a post-Pesach stupor. New banners invite participation in the settlement adventure. We want to visit the boy's school and maybe meet one or two the little guys who were arrested last week ( Btselem report 20/03/2013) but the school is off on an outing. At the Pharmacy checkpoint a Druze officer is more or less friendly while his Jewish colleague looks grim. A shiny white vehicle pulls up with an officer and cohorts, smiling broadly he tells us that only internationals are permitted to observe at the checkpoint and we are holding up the traffic. Netanya points down the deserted street and asks whether he thinks this is Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv. Back in Beer Sheva the Palestinian prisoner Maiseer Abu Hamtsa died of cancer this morning in Soroka hospsital, which may account for the strange assertion of the Border Policeman in anticipation of possible protests, which according to the press do indeed occur. However, we see no reinforcements of army or police so this is just a guess, fired by hindsight (no pun intended!).
Originally, it was our intention to have an art activity at the hashem el-Daraj preschool but because Huda was not feeling well our visit to the preschool was cancelled. Instead, we decided to go to Hebron because we heard that the previous day children there threw rocks at soldiers who then fired tear gas in order to disperse them.
Before going to Hebron, we stopped at the Um-el-Hir preschool where we had arranged to meetmHamed who was there with members of the Village Group. As we travelled along route 317 passing illegal and legal settlements and also Palestinian villages (which as usual do not have their names signposted), we saw Israeli flags flying from the electrical poles. It was clear that the flags had been hung by an official body (the army? - who is in control of the area) because it is a task that requires a crane. Why is this helpful? At the entrance to the Carmel settlement, a sign advertised a new neighborhood.
In Hebron, there were many army personnel but it was quiet. We didn't see any signs of yesterday's events. We met a member of the Abu-Jabar family who invited us to coffee. In the plaza of the Cave of the Patriarchs, there was a group of Indian tourists. What do they really see? Do they see the Palestinians who go through the narrow roadblock that runs along the opposite wall and the blocked up houses on the worshipers' route?
We talked to members of TIPH who were doing their rounds. They didn't see or hear about the events of yesterday. What are they doing there?
Translator: Charles K.
Southern Hebron Hills
We went through the Meitar checkpoint at 10:30, toward Umm Faqra on Highway 317 which is deserted. On the way we saw settlers hanging a very large sign at Carmel: The new neighborhood will be built here soon (for Obama’s visit?). The roads are empty all the way to Hebron.
Two serious incidents in Hebron, at the Cave of the Patriarchs checkpoint:
A settler throws coffee at a Palestinian and flees. The Palestinian starts chasing him, and in response to shouts from the settlers the soldiers chase the Palestinian and politely ask him to calm down. The Palestinian then approaches the soldier to explain what happened, the soldier apologizes, says he didn’t see the settler throwing coffee, and that’s why he simply tried to calm things down.
A settler in a white car sped past the checkpoint and hit a 4 year old Palestinian boy, injuring his right leg. We called the police; by the time they arrived (in 3-5 minutes) a paramedic had recommended an x-ray. The police officer handled matters politely and conscientiously; he contacted the Red Crescent to continue treatment.
Since no one had recorded the license number of the car the police will examine security camera recordings at the time of the incident to identify the vehicle’s owner.
‘Abed is worried about the difficult economic situation, and about Abu Mazen who isn’t looking out for his people, and about Hamas creating tensions.
Guests: Two tourists from the US accompanying Netanya
Translator: Charles K.
In photo: flying checkpoint in Dahariyya.
There are no more people crossing on foot when we drive away and vehicles cross quickly, without problems.
A flying checkpoint at Dahariyya – reservists, very strict, stopping almost every car – it’s not clear why. One man waits a very long time because he doesn’t have his ID with him. Annoying…
In general, almost no military vehicles.
Much less military presence than last week. Nor is anyone detained. The road on the worshipper’s route has been repaired.
Two occupation stories:
1. The carpenter living on the Tzion route (below Beit Hameriva) who wants a permit to bring his vehicle in (40 Palestinians already have such a permit) has been refused for more than a month…He asks us for help – Captain Amir puts him off, sends him hither and yon…He notices us next to Beit Hameriva and asks for our assistance – we gave him Chana’s phone number; we hope she can help him. His family and his pregnant wife who can barely descend the stairs down to their home past Beit Hameriva wait in the car…
2. A Border Police soldier in the parking lot opposite the Cave of the Patriarchs is “nice” to us until he realizes we’re a left wing organization, and stops talking to us. He also yells at an Arab tour guide from East Jerusalem with a blue ID card who wants to park next to ‘Abed’s shop – you’re an Arab; you can’t park here.
Apartheid and the occupation routine. One of the tourists who’s with us says, “it’s a ghost town”…and I have nothing left to say.
Translator: Charles K.
Curve 160 checkpoint in Hebron – small stones the children threw
Soldiers who came from the Jabel Juhar neighborhood (Area H1, which is supposed to be under Palestinian control)
Helmets sitting on the concrete barriers instead of on the soldiers’ heads.
The pillbox on Highway 60 at the Dura – Al Fawwar junction.
The sign warning it’s dangerous to enter Area A, soldiers alongside.
Yesterday a Palestinian youth was killed by live fire at the Dura Al Fawwar junction on Highway 60. And today?! Today everyone’s on alert, sad, with heavy hearts. If you read the entire report you’ll agree with me that Edmond Levi is wrong – there is in fact an occupation!!!
What we did on today’s shift (tales of the occupation)
By 06:45 all the laborers had crossed and wait for their rides…the earthworks continue and the rubbish is still there.
Highway 60, Southern Hebron Hills
Khirbet Tawwani – The soldiers escorting the children walking to school from Umm Tuba arrive on time this morning. The Palestinians have asked us to try to arrange for the children to be driven to school. The Civil Administration representatives have thus far refused – we asked our attorney, Gabi Lassky, to write some letters. We’ll see what happens. The children have been walking to school with a military escort since 2004. Wouldn’t it be easier to find the hoodlums from the Ma’on Farm and get rid of them? They’re on privately owned land; cf. Talia Sasson’s report.
Zif junction – We see here for the first time the army’s heightened preparations – vehicles for dispersing demonstrations, Border Police vehicles and a squad of soldiers at the checkpoint – no one is crossing and there’s very little vehicle traffic.
Kvasim junction – Border Police soldiers standing under the pillbox stop a Palestinian motorcyclist, check him and release him immediately when they see us.
The junction to Kiryat Arba on Highway 60
Palestinian families own land beyond the gas station, below Mitzpeh Avichai and before Giv’at Mamreh – approximately 30 dunums. For thirteen years they haven’t been allowed to reach their land and cultivate it. Today, following coordination between the Palestinian and the Israeli DCO, they came with tractors to try to enter and work the land. They reached the entrance gate; the Kiryat Arba security people didn’t let them through. When we met them they’d already been waiting for three hours, trying every way they could to convince the Palestinian DCO to arrange things with the Israeli DCO, but to no avail. We see the despair and helplessness in their eyes. We referred them to Yesh Din. They talked to M., from Yesh Din, in our presence; let’s hope something comes of it.
We visit the teachers at the Cordova school. The handrail of the stairs has been repainted…giving apartheid a festive air. Again they request what we haven’t been able to implement …Hebrew classes…
The green apartheid fence on the eastern side of the Cave of the Patriarchs plaza sparkles in the sun.
Curve 160 – The occupation’s Rashomon continues. A Palestinian stops us just before the checkpoint. He tells us that five 9 and 10 year old children from the Assissiya boys’ school in Jabel Johar threw stones at the checkpoint. In response, the soldiers entered the school and sprayed tear gas. The teachers then closed the school; they’re now on strike. An ambulance evacuated pupils who were injured.
We reach the checkpoint – the gate is open, three police cars and a military vehicle, senior officers on site – no one wearing a helmet, everyone relaxed, some drinking coffee, a few small stones scattered on the street. We asked how many children were here – 50-100, they reply. (We see almost no children and very few passersby). The gate is still open; two soldiers walked into the neighborhood, stopped past the first grocery store and then came out.
What really happened? You decide between the two versions. On the basis of what I saw, I tend to believe the Palestinians. One of the soldiers checks his iPhone to see whether there were reports on Walla or Ynet.
The occupation routine?