Hebron, Sansana, South Hebron Hills, Sun 11.4.10, Morning
Translation: Bracha B.A.
We arrived at the crossing at 07:00. Most of the workers had already gone through but several dozens were still waiting. Most of the complaints were about the attitude of the checkpoint staff, the turnstile that people get caught in, and injured by, when the place is too crowded and naturally, of inspection points being too scarce. The workers miss Shlomi, the CP's former manager, who cared a lot about their problems and did his best to help. When it was crowded in the morning he would come out himself and put things in order.
The booths for selling drinks and falafel have been moved farther away. One shopkeeper complained that his dishes had been confiscated and not returned.
The new manager, Moti, was willing to speak to us on the phone and listened to our complaints, explaining his policy to us:
A. Shopkeepers were told to move back and received orders to leave the area within a week. The area is designated for parking. There is a lot of traffic and the refreshment stands make it difficult for people to get to the turnstile. The area on the Palestinian side is under the jurisdiction of the Civilian Authority but run by the checkpoint operators. As for the particular shopkeeper who complained to us, he will make sure that his dishes are returned to him. Obviously. In any case, the booths can be set on the Palestinian side, but nowhere near the checkpoint.
B. The parking lot is about to be extended.
C. A winding lane is being planned next to the turnstile aread in order to avoid excessive crowding next to it and thus, minimize the attendant dangers.
D. An additional turnstile will be set up to help reduce the crowding during rush hour.
E. A third inspection lane will be completed within a month, faciliating passage.
F. The checkpoint opening hours have been extended -- it now opens at 4:00am instead of 4:30am.
G. The crossing's staff attend a seminar aimed at improving their attitude to the the Palestinians crossing there. When we told Moti that Shlomi had personally seen to the needs of the Palestinian workers, he explained that Shlomi was no longer in charge of the crossing. The police and the General Security Services disliked the fact that Shlomi "endangered himself" and Moti feels that the improvements will enable people to cross safely and quickly.
In summary, Moti feels that he is obligated to the welfare of the Palestinian workers and is quite positive about our work, too, open to positive criticism. He emphasized that he is available to hear any comments that we might have. We hope this will lead to some positive changes. I have difficulty understanding why the shopkeeper has not been able to get his tools back when he has been trying to do so for several days.
Yuval, the person in charge of security, has read our reports (for those who wonder who does...)
There is a Palestinian car and people are waiting for a taxi on the side of the road.
Dura Alfawwar: the soldiers have come down from the pillbox and are stopping cars, as well as a wagon and donkey, to checkt their contents. (See photo). No detainess seen.
The Nachal 50th battalion is stationed at the city's every corner.
We arrived past 8:00 so no children were to be seen already at the checkpoints.
Worshippers' Path next to the 206 marker: two soldiers stood next to the entrance to a populated building. They use the outside stairway and don't enter the building.
The road from Kiryat Arba to Hebron is being redone (part of the government's newly announced "National heritage sites" program?)