Hebron, Sansana, South Hebron Hills, Tue 29.9.09, Morning
Translation: Bracha B.A.
When we arrived we could see from a distance that the crossing was unusually crowded. We were met by hundreds of angry, frustrated workers who had been waiting since 4am and have still not went through. They explained that only one inspection booth was operating. It was already 6:45 and some of them claimed that there was no longer any point in crossing because their employers demanded that they get to work by 6:30.
We understood that after the closure on Yom Kippur and the subsequent weekend it was crowded, but I now called Shlomi, the CP's manager to tell him about this, enquiring whether it might be possible to hasten matters somehow. Shlomi, whom we know for his humanitarian outlook and willingness to deal with things, ensured us that all inspection booths were open and that everyone is working quickly, but said that delays were caused by the overcrowding of the CP: there were 2,400 people there today, as opposed to the usual 1,700. He invited us to go in and see that the place is operating at maximum capacity and manpower, clearing the way for us and taking us through the entire “via dellarosa”. The workers in the inspection points who had been shouting rudely at people, suddenly changed their tone and miraculously, people began to go through more quickly. When we asked why more windows couldn't be opened, he explained that he did not receive approval for an extra NIS100,000: according to him, Sansana CP is especially efficient as compared to others. However, another NIS100,000 for the benefit of the Palestinians is too much for our security system.
In light of the fact that such overcrowding at Sansana CP is exceptional, and that Shlomi always does his best to enable people to get to work and not everything is under his control, we left the crossing hoping that things will ease down over the next hour or so.
All along the road leading to Hebron we are pleased to see that the roadblocks that were opened last week, as reported earlier, are still so now. Traffic flows smoothly at every checkpoint, including Dura Alfawwar and the Sheep's Junction.
Hebron is as oppressive as always. The House of Dispute is empty, with the usual Border Police soldiers guarding.
The house at Curve 160 was evacuated by the army, as promised last week.
On Gross Square there are no soldiers this time.
At the other checkpoints along the Shouhada St. -- Tarpat, Tel Rumeida and Pharmacy -- there are soldiers, but they stop no one and people are allowed through.
The Patriarchs' Tombs' Cave: once again, ear-shattering music comes from “Beit Gutnick”. Five young people are detained by a Border Police soldier, and women from the CPT photo and report the incident. We stop in order to find out what was going on: as it turns out, this small group of the International Solidarity Organization arrived in Hebron. One of its members is a Palestinian with US citizenship. He presented his US passport and then detained because according to the soldiers, he should have also presented his Palestinian passport. The BP soldiers were vicious and behaved aggressively towards us as well. We stood on the side to avoid further provocation. The blue police, who followed us as usual, arrived. The policeman greeted us and explained that it could be dangerous if the American-Palestinian fellow decided to enter “Beit Gutnick.” (Note: Since Baruch Goldstein's massacre, Jews and Arabs are not allowed in the cave at the same time.)
Our friend Ofer Ochana appears with his camera on boot as usual. He begins to photograph us. I, in turn, take his picture. He happily notes that the Holy One, Blessed Be He, will punish anyone who endangers the People of Israel such as Rabin for example. “Futile, futile, futile" he shouts again and again, and laughs. Itamar Ben Gvir emerges from “Beit Gutnick”, gets into his car, and shouts “Traitors!” at us. Ofer Ochana is encouraged and adds another epithet, and is joined by another “friendly” Jew who attacks us angrily saying, “You're only interested in the Arabs. Why don't you care for the Jews who live here? There are 3% Jews here, surrounded by 97% Arabs, and you don't care about them.” There is no point in continuing this “conversation.” We leave feeling disgusted.
Zion Road: We are pleased to hear about the plan to operate a minibus along this road after the holidays to transport residents to the Kafisha Neighborhood and Givat Ha'Harsina. We'll see what happens.
We returned from here, observing nothing unusual.