Hebron, Sansana, South Hebron Hills, Thu 15.4.10, Morning
Guest - Anya
Many groups of laborers awaiting their employers on the Israeli side of the crossing. No line on the Palestinian side, no buses.
Israeli flags, and occasionally flags of the Har Hebron Regional Council, flying from all the telephone poles all along the road to Hebron – another symbolic way to attach this area to Israel.
Dura-al Fawwar junction – soldiers stand on the Dura side, watching cars but not stopping them.
Pharmacy checkpoint – From time to time, soldiers stop youths and men and inspect their bags after they’ve gone through the magnemometer. Suddenly, three soldiers with weapons drawn run into a blocked alley on the H2 side of the checkpoint, from which children are emerging on the way to school. A CPT volunteer standing next to the checkpoint explains that some children live in houses in the alley, and when the soldiers see them coming out they’re afraid they bypassed the checkpoint from area H1. A minute after their dramatic entry to the alley, the soldiers came out.
Later in our tour we noticed (new?) blue and white signs erected near the settlement centers and other locations, explaining in Hebrew and English how important the locations are from a Jewish perspective. The city is unusually quiet – soldiers are sitting at the Beit Hadassah luncheonette, no music from Beit Gutnick.
Michal T. had asked us to stop at the worshipper’s route in order to hear from A., whom they met on the Tuesday shift, the entrance to whose home was blocked by the army before Passover (cf. report from 13 April). When we arrived we saw two soldiers stationed at the entrance to the worshippers’ route, and others standing on the roof of one of the tall buildings in the area. We found A., who explained the problem: three days before Passover, a military crane and truck arrived and blocked the entry to the alley leading from his home to the worshippers’ route with cement cubes, to a height of some 3 meters. The most serious problem is that his 90-year-old mother, confined to a wheelchair, now can’t easily and quickly reach the road or obtain medical treatment. The soldiers said that they’ll reopen the alley after Passover, but they haven’t yet done so. There’s a back way from his house, but it involves climbing stairs and walking along an uneven route over the roofs of other buildings – which is impassible to a wheelchair. We sat with him briefly at his house and met his wife, son and mother. We wrote down information about him and his wife, and promised to transmit it to Yesh Din, which will try to do something. A. said that two other locations along the worshippers’ route had also been blocked with concrete that same day, and at our request took us to see them as well (photos attached). A. thinks that the intent is to block off the route completely; the army adds more and more obstructions every year.
To the left of the exit from Kiryat Arba, on Route 60, is E.’s house. He also hasn’t any luck – his land and family homes are located in a bad location – at the foot of Kiryat Arba’s new Nofei Mamre neighborhood. The group of Palestinians living in this area is completely cut off from Hebron by Kiryat Arba, and to reach the city and its services they must drive to Halhul. This little area is a sort of no-man’s-land, not under the control of the Palestinian Authority, so it doesn’t provide them with any services, and not under the jurisdiction of Israeli authorities. The Civil Administration is trying to annex more and more of the family’s land; no one is willing to provide water to them, and they have to buy it and pay a high price.
At the exit from Kiryat Arba we noticed that next to the Kiryat Arba army base there was a new, small base with a number of mobile homes – above which floated a balloon (like a small zeppelin), in the sky above Hebron, apparently photographing the area.