Hebron, Sansana, South Hebron Hills, Tue 1.9.09, Morning
Tran. by Revital S.
The crossing is already empty at this hour. Only one bus is waiting to go to the prisons. In conversation with people on the Palestinian side we learn that few people are crossing due to the Ramadan but that on Sundays the CP is congested. They say that most people get there as early as 04:00 and long queues form. On prison visit days the buses arrive at 06:00 and the CP is badly overcrowded. We'll try to get here at 04:00 to check the procedure, because after 06:00 the place is empty, as Shlomi the director of the CP promised it would be.
As usual all is quiet and empty along the road as far as Bnei Na'im. This is the first day of school in the Palestinian Authority too and many small children, women and teachers make their way along unpaved paths, cross the road and get onto other unpaved paths again on the other side to get to school on time. All proceed on foot, but not so the Masters of the Land. South Hebron Hills' council buses and private vehicles are zooming along the roads everywhere. They are driving their children to their various schools. The disparity is blatant and insufferable.
The town has awoken. Multitudes of children are walking to school. BPs are more plentiful than usual, including out of their regular positions. They are stationed at Curve 60 and all the alleyways around it, though they already have mortar blocks. Today, people were detained also on their way to neighbourhoods quite far off from the Patriarchs' Tombs' Cave. When we inquire as to why this had happened, even in their own neighbourhoods, we were told they were "suspects" and that this was no more than "normal procedure!" The parachutists are still in town and scheduled to leave on 1st October. At the Pharmacy Junction and all along the way to Tel Rumeida they stand without stopping anyone or hassling. We are pleased to note that they do not inspect school bags either. When we ask about their procedure vis a vis the children they tell us: "there is no instruction to inspect bags, and it was left to our discretion." Is that good? Bad? The gods of occupation may know. The TIPH and CPT are there is special force too. They're everywhere. By the stairs to Cordoba School stands a police vehicle as well. The settlers' children are assembled at the pickup point in front of Shavei Hebron Yeshiva. Anat Cohen was milling around the place as usual, but did not dare wreak her usual havoc.
At Bassam's grocery we are told that the Zion Route is quiet. Bassam says that about 10-14 Palestinian cars are allowed through, daily. We observed no cars at the pillbox there but at the Quafisha grocery the owner claims even 20 are allowed through per day. He says the pillbox is now manned around the clock with some BP shifts stopping each child and behaving abominably and others that treat them humanly. We leave Hebron relieved somewhat because notwithstanding the massive presence of the occupation, the school year opened without special incident.
A military jeep is parked at Shuyuch CP but the soldiers do not disembark nor detain anyone. Groups of girls cross this dangerous road at a run on their way to school, which is directly on the other side of the highway.
We returned via Road 317 which is as deserted as ever. It looks as though a whole new quarter of caravillas has been added to the Carmel settlement. We'll check on it next week.