Hebron, Sansana, South Hebron Hills, Mon 17.5.10, Morning

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Netanya G. and Michal T. (Reporting)

Guests:  Rita (photographing) and Rachel C.

Translator:  Charles K. 06:30 – 10:00 

  1. The “grass widow” routine
  2. Cave of the Patriarchs – Theatre of the absurd, Chapter 2.

Meitar crossing
By 6 AM the fenced corridor is already empty. There aren’t any relatives of prisoners in the shed.  All the laborers are already on the Israeli side, waiting for their rides.  The infrastructure works are proceeding apace. Hebron7 AM. We pick up Netanya, Rita and Rachel at the gas station at the entrance to Kiryat Arba.  Soldiers at every corner of the city and at all the checkpoints.  No detaineesinfo-icon at the moment, but everyone – old and young – go through the metal detector.
Pharmacy checkpoint: CPT people continue to report that things are quieter everywhere.  They say there are 15 manned checkpoints throughout the city (we usually observe eight of them, where there’s heavier traffic and they’re more sensitive). But they say there are some 94 roadblocks!!!! That’s an unbelievable number, but it’s probably accurate, since every lane that a car could go through is blocked off by concrete cubes, one of which is U-shaped so a person on foot or a small cart can get through. We never counted. It’s important to remember that some of the roadblocks are on streets in the H2 area, not between Arab Hebron and the mixed part of town. 
Soldiers also man the roadblocks along Shouhada St., all the way to Tel Rumeida, but allow adults and children to go through.
But up Shouhada Street, near the Jewish cemetery – the Chabad section – there’s a tall building, from whose roof you can see the whole city. In the past, the “grass widow” routine was carried out there – soldiers took over the roof or part of the building and turn it into an observation point.  In the past we complained about this very often, and the routine ceased for a long time, or the soldiers would come for a few hours and then leave. Suddenly we again saw soldiers there. The residents told us that once again they come and go, but don’t stay long. It’s important to follow up on this, because we might have to intervene.
A young, an energetic female officer suddenly arrives. She’s buddy-buddy with the municipal employees and the firemen. They all showed up because of some fire that had been put out. 
“See ya’, bro’,” she yells to one of them on her way back to her car.
I show her the soldiers on the room and ask her what’s going on.
“Where? Those aren’t soldiers.  I don’t see anything.”
I insist that a group of men dressed in khaki are not residents of the building.
“Is a ‘grass widow’ routine underway?”, I ask.
She looks at me in amazement.
“Do you know what the ‘grass widow’ routine is”?, I ask.
“Sure!  I’ve already been in Judea and Samaria for a year and seventh months.”
“OK, I don’t know,” answers the fire control officer who’s located  in one of the world’s hot spots, and doesn’t even feel warm… 
Rita wants to photograph everything but M., our driver, explains that there are places he doesn’t dare park, certainly not in the area of Beit Hadassah. We agree that I’ll wait with him near the Cave of the Patriarchs, because we don’t leave him alone there either. 
Rita and Netanya walk the length of Shouhada Street, and we wait in Abed’s souvenir shop.  He’s delighted. 
Ofer left the luncheonette in Beit Gutnick, and Zvika and the owners are running it again. “He’s a prince, really; he even brought me food!,” he beams.“See?! That’s a neighbor! That’s what neighbors are like. He also agrees to open the luncheonette at 9:00, and most important: he doesn’t play his music loudly. Really, what a great guy Zvika is!”
Ofer now has an important job, shows up briefly on occasion and then leaves. I’m not exactly caught up in Abed’s glee; I remember the story about the rabbi and the goat…Twenty minutes passed, and my friends return excited and agitated.  Even though they removed their ID tags, the settlers identified them and yelled “Machsom Watch…you must be having a great time…”, etc., etc.  Now they’ve also felt how frightening it is to meet members of Hebron Jewish community.