Hebron, Sansana, South Hebron Hills, Sun 10.5.09, Morning
This is such a horrible, racist, intimidating place that as I sit to type my report tears flow out instead of words.
As students of education our guests were interested in seeing Palestinian schools. We visited the girls' school by the pharmacy junction and Al Ibrahimiya boys' school. In both we were warmly welcomed as old acquaintances. Neither wished the meeting to be official as that necessitates authorisation of the Palestinian education board in Hebron. Contact information for the purpose, should we wish to arrange a formal conversation at some future date, was made available.
Informally we were told how badly the daily CP experiences and harassment of their students by the Jewish settlers tells on them and affects their achievements. One of the girls, for instance, is badly traumatized after settlers' children set their dogs on her.
The Zion thoroughfare has not yet been opened and the 160 curve CP operates like any other. To put up the pillbox a house has been pulled down. It was uninhabited but still obviously belonged to someone. I wonder whether the owners were compensated for their loss, or Israel took the usual liberties. We see no detainees as we pass by. On the other side of the Zion thoroughfare, by Giv'at ha-Harsina, the pillbox has been painted in the BP green and white. The House of Dispute has become the BP HQ and is now painted accordingly.
Pharmacy CP - children are crossing and a schoolbag is inspected sporadically. There seems to be no special trouble. Two nice young Milanese peace activists are observing the CP form the pharmacy steps.
By the blocked steps to Cordoba school we are prevented from proceeding up the Shuhada st. to Tarpat CP and Tel Rumeida by Anat Cohen (with a nine year old looking girl. Her daughter perhaps) in her white transit which she placed in the very middle of the narrow street.
Wishing to avoid the hassle I ask our driver M to turn and go back the way we came. But Anat had already informed the soldiers at Gross roundabout that we have Palestinians in the car (Basma, dressed in traditional attire, and our driver) and we are stopped. The soldiers of the 101 - Peten (Heb for a kind of snake) - battalion all look like settlers with their skullcaps and side-locks. One of them yells at M in Arabic demanding his ID and rudely inquiring whether he is unaware that Arabs (using the derogatory "arabushim") are not allowed to drive there. When he is insolent enough to suggest that I am causing provocation I demand to know what's provocative about sitting in a car and tell him that we'd have been out of there long since had he not detained us. We hand over our IDs. M also loses his cool and lets the soldier know that he is an IDF veteran himself having served three years as pathfinder in Gaza. Uninterested, the soldier makes his inquiries regarding our presence there. Then Anat and Ofer Ohana appear and the usual infuriating and humiliating harangue ensues. I try to tell the soldiers that a blue ID is non-discriminating and that he is being racist. At the same time I call the brigade spokeswoman and she summons the police. After 15 minutes we're authorized to be were we are and drive where we would so we head on.
Tarpat CP: by the steps to Cordoba school, with Ofer chasing behind and after him the police, the soldiers stop us again. Ofer wishes to file a complaint against me for offending a public officer. Next time I must remember to reformulate "you are a racist" to "you're behaving in a racist manner". The latter as adverb of manner being permissible by law. The policeman asks me for my ID to take down my particulars at which I demand Ofer's to take down his to complain of harassment at his hands (I have them if anyone wishes to file such a complaint against him).
We go on to Tel Rumeida with police cars trailing us. They park by the CP. On our return journey Anat is there again blocking our way (without the child this time). Barak and I get out of our car to call the police and Shlomit stays to protect M and Basma. At this stage Anat tries to deflate our wheels with her key ring. Seeing that we are calling the police she moves over a little and M with Basma drive on and pick up Shlomit with Barak and me following at a run. M is unable to stop by the petrol station to wait for us as he intended because the policeman A (with the tired looking eyes) threatens him with a ticket. In the meantime buses stop by the station (we couldn't tell who was disembarking) and lots of police cars. M drives on towards The Pharmacy CP and Barak and I run to meet him. He picked us up half way there and we made our escape. We could take no more of the racism against Palestinians that we heard and felt so ashamed. It looks like we're all to some extent Liberman and there seems no end to it.
I'll file a complaint against Anat and Ofer with the police, but it's the alliance between the settlers and the army that is so oppressive. None of us could take any more of it. Unfortunately I failed to takes photos on top of just being there. I'll do that next time.
7am: Almost all of the workers have already crossed and it's the prisoners' families' turn now - seven bus loads.
Sand-packed lorries are waiting in line on both sides of the barrier. The vendors say this CP is not problematic (I wish the same were true for Irtah and Kalkilya).
Schoolchildren are making their way to school. All the blocks are in place and all the pillboxes manned (Durah Alfawwar, the Sheep junction and Shuyuch Hebron). The road is virtually empty. No Palestinian cabs and barely any military traffic are to be seen.
By Beit Hagai we see a sign about a study day for battalion 90, that explains what we observed here last Tuesday.