Hebron, Sansana, South Hebron Hills, Tue 4.8.09, Morning
Trans. by Revital S.
Many sand-tracks are waiting on the Palestinian side.
When we get to the CP we hear the following complaints from the workers who are still crossing:
first, why are they told to lift their arms up by women; second, the X-ray machine is a health hazard and finally, the machine which reads hand palms (for identification) often fails to recognise them.
By and large, though, people appear quite pleased with this crossing (and so are we).
Six buses are in the process of crossing and by 07:30 all the prisoners' families have already been inspected. We did not cross over to the Israeli side to see how long the inspection took. The bus drivers say it's going smoothly because we're there. I think credit is due to Shlomi, the CP's manager.
See photo (left), for the handicapped child Shlomi carried on his arms from his wheelchair to another, with which he could cross and then, back to his own, allowing him to use the gate rather than turnstile.
The problem with the prisoners' families is that they arrive too early. The procedure is to start inspecting them only after the workers have all been seen through, which never happens before 07:15.
There are new road blocks by Samoa East. The Beit Yatir CP is still operated by Boarder Police soldiers and nobody crossed while we were there. The parking lot was full of cars which the police claims to be stolen, including an old tractor. The electricity board and road repairs authority are still busy putting up lights on this apartheid road, having gotten only as far as Maon settlement.
Zif and Bnei Naim CPs: open.
Between Dura Alfawwar and the Sheep Junction, pillboxes are manned and traffic flows. The Palestinians paved the road into Abda.
Pillboxes on either side of the Zion Route - at Quefeisha Quarter and Curve 160 - are manned by Boarder Police soldiers and the gates are closed. Each pillbox has a list of five authorised vehicles. Most, however, do not seek authorisation for two reasons: 1. During the nine years, since the road was last open, most of those who owned a car sold it and can no longer afford buying a new one. 2. Those who do (still?) have a car, prefer not to issue a personal permit, waiting instead for the all El-Khalil vehicles to be permitted through, and not just their neighbourhood.They are right of course, because without freedom of movement, there's no trade anyway. We were told of this all by a young and hospitable couple who run a grocery, where we've now stopped for the first time and then, verified it against others.
The House of Dispute; Pharmacy; Tel Rumeida and Patriarchs' Tombs' Cave CPs: all deserted - nobody crosses over and there are no detainees. On the grass before the Jewish entrance to the Cave preparations are in progress for a concert to be held there tonight, it being the 15th of Av (tu be-shvat, Jewish "lovers' day"). How these people, so full of hatred for everyone but themselves, can celebrate this day is a wonder.
Beit Hadassa CP - under the steps leading to the Cordoba school in the middle of the Shuhada street there are two detainees. They are clad in ultra orthodox attire and with them is a woman completely veiled in black, hand in hand with a little girl. We stop by. Next to the door of one of the shops (locked of course) three TIF policepersons (two women and a man) armed with cameras are observing events. Anat Cohen arrives with the usual tirade of swearing and taking photographs of us all the time. We don't respond, instead taking her photo, too...
Tamar goes back to the transit to sit with our driver who receives his share of swearing. The swearing is the usual "traitors", "Arab whores" etc. The TIF is taking photographs of us all the time. From the corner of my eye I notice Cohen trying to deflate our tyres. I go towards her and receive a blow to my shoulder that sends the camera flying. I collect it from the road and - knowing she overdid it - she's off. We go to the Patriarchs' Tombs' Cave, to file a complaint. Though the policemen there all know us, we have to go to a police station to file the complaint because there are no inspectors in place. On our way back, Anat is already in another vehicle and they try to get us off the road. We filed the complaint at the Township's police station. We doubt that anything will be done with it; still, it is always worth filing a complaint.