Hebron, Sansana, South Hebron Hills, Tue 17.11.09, Morning
Translation: Bracha B.A.
Today there was rain, drizzling, and then the rain stopped, but it was enough to make a lot of agricultural workers return home and miss the day's work. At the crossing there is no line at all, and whoever arrives goes through immediately. One busload of families going to visit prisoners is already here, waiting for the Red Cross person to arrive at 07:00. They will then cross over. To avoid crowding at the checkpoint they have begun to open it every day at 04:00 and if the inspection booths operate properly there is no lineup. S., the CP's manager, tells us that they are expanding the parking lot and that on Friday there was a vegetable market there. R., the CP's operations manager, will be responsible for the CP at Metzudot Yehudah–Beit Yatir that will be transferred to the Border Crossings Authority in two weeks' time. Only merchandise and Palestinian workers who work at Har Amsha and in the settlements of Beit Yatir will cross here. Sand trucks that cross over “back to back” are working at top speed.
There is heavy fog and children are walking to school on the side of the road. At the curve beneath Beit Hagai, a huge truck with a trailer is stuck at the bend and a jeep with soldiers stops to see what happened. They are inside the jeep and the Palestinians are trying to move the truck. The pillboxes at Dura Alfawwar and the Sheep's Junction are all manned. Big Brother above is sleeping.
The Pharmacy CP: Children’s school bags are still being checked – the boys’ school principal tells us that this year the checkpoints are much better. At least one class of boys has gone to the girls’ school to take boxes of food that were sent there by UNWRA as the food cannot be brought by car due to the checkpoints' width, and a wagon is not permitted through either. He also told us that Anat Cohen is no longer driving her car around the school trying to terrify the children as we saw last week.
Work is being done on the infrastructure on the road leading to the Moslem entrance to the Patriarchs' Cave: The loudspeakers from Beit Gutnick are quiet today.
Curve 160: Four Border Police soldiers leaning against their jeep… and everyone continues on their way in this nightmarish city. At the opening to the Olive Crossing there are bright red warning signs telling people not to enter the Palestinian Authority and traffic is moving smoothly.
The guys at the grocery store tell us that every day of the week soldiers come down from the pillboxes to erect a checkpoint on the side of Idna, causing great traffic jams: they then block the road for anpit half an hour and leave.
Tarquomiya: When we went through there were no longer any people queuing and about 12 trucks were waiting to enter. There were no trucks at the upper parking lot, suggesting that waiting time was not too bad.
Negohot: A beautiful new road has opened from the entrance junction to Lachish and Amatzia to the Shoket Junction. The road is on the western side of the partition wall that runs along the green line at this point, except for several instances -- such as, e.g. next to the quarry owned by Omri Sharon, or the settlement Negohot. The wall also is not entirely finished on the section from Dahariyya to Ramadin and Lahav. Since it was reported on the news yesterday that illegal buildings were being demolished in Negohot (everything is illegal and unjust there) and soldiers from the Nachshon Brigade had protested against evacuation of Jewish settlements, we decided to go in and see what was going on.
First of all there is a checkpoint, two reservists are guarding and not everyone can enter. We had to invent a story that we had come to visit a friend and we removed the “Machsom Watch” sign from the transit and hid our tags. After our ID cards were checked they moved the red bricks and let us in. We drove around for a while and reached the old Road 358 that connects Beit Awa to Siqa where the Beit Awa checkpoint used to be. The pillbox is still there and still manned but the yellow gates are open and Palestinians can drive on the road as far as Dahariyya. There are no signs marking Area A. There are a few Palestinian families living on both sides of the road leading to Negohot, which is actually a Palestinian road leading to Dura. The Supreme Court has recently ruled that this cp has to be removed, however, the people at Negohot evidently have their own ideas.
To the right of the road there is a sign pointing to the Negohot B neighborhood. They call it Givat Habustan, or “Garden Hill” and it was built in 2002. There are five buildings, two of which are wooden cabins that look like pretty vacation cabins. Farther up the hill stands Negohot A, a fairly large settlement. Behind it is a green gate with a Palestinian village behind it, but that gate is closed!!! Remember that the Supreme Court ruled that it was to be opened?? The gate is closed and locked, and we see a settler coming from the other side of the gate about to enter the settlement from the Palestinian village's direction. HE opens the gate with a key. On the other side of the gate is the illegal settlement and only a settler has the key. We photographed what we could and left. We gave all the information to Hagit from Peace Now and we will see what will happen. The entire area looks very pastoral… and on the other hand we see the horrible occupation of the settlers.