Hebron, South Hebron Hills, Tue 14.7.09, Morning
Translation: Bracha B.A.
Sansana: The checkpoint was empty when we passed through.
There is no traffic and practically no one to be seen.
Bnei Naim: The gate to the settler’s vineyard is open and an army jeep goes in to guard the workers. From the other side people from the Public Works Department are paving the road (or getting ready to) and there is a security vehicle and guard with a weapon at a 90-degree angle.
Har Mano'ach: The bulldozer is parked.
Dura Alfawwar and The Sheep Junction: pillboxes are manned and traffic is moving.
From the entry road to Kiryat Arba we see the outpost that was evacuated to our right: it is now re-inhabited and a car is parked there, along with a new caravan.
The story of Hebron's water shortage
Historical background: According to the 1998 Wye Plantation agreement (under Netanyahu and Arafat), Hebron was divided into two areas known as H1 and H2. The security control of Area H2 was placed in the hands of the State of Israel while municipal responsibility for the entire city was placed with the Hebron municipality. Since the beginning of the second Intifada, when the checkpoints and roadblocks were built, the Hebron Municipality has not been able of fulfilling its municipal obligations because of the checkpoints, and cannot provide sufficient water for the residents of the Palestinian neighborhoods in the area of H2. At present, the Hebron Municipality pumps water to the Kafisha neighborhood once a month, over half a day allowing the neighborhood's residents to fill their water tanks. Trucks cannot reach the neighborhood because of the checkpoints. There is no running water. When the IDF began work to open the road the bulldozer broke the water pipe. The Hebron Municipality can repair the broken part of the pipe only up to the checkpoint, which is what they currently do -- we see Hebron Municipality workers working on it while we are there. The grocer shows me how dirty it is because of the water shortage and laughs. Their patience and generosity are endless – the water shortage does not prevent them from offering us coffee. One of the Palestinians tells me that they would have starved if they did not grow their own fruits and vegetables. I wonder if President Obama knows about this and what he plans to do about it.
In general Hebron of area H2 looks like an abandoned ghost town. Palestinian children on summer vacation roam the streets and there are almost no people going through the checkpoints.
The Patriarchs' Tombs' Cave CP:
Four detainees are released after exactly 20 minutes. The soldiers checking bags belonging to 9-year-old children.