Hebron, South Hebron Hills, Mon 1.11.10, Morning
6:50a.m.- Most of the labourers had passed and seemingly been picked up by their employers since we saw very few and didn't meet anyone refused entry. In the "cafe" a few tired young men lolled over coffee. Almost like Aroma. There was a largish group of prisoners' families, mostly women, waiting at the turnstile and in the "pen" to be let through at 7:00. A few children scampered cheerfully round the pen, the only cheer in that gloomy atmosphere. A women told me in English that the passage is rather slow as they only allow 4 at a time. The families travel from first light sometimes to very distant prisons and in the end get only a short time with their loved one. No wonder they are despondent!
Unllike last week, I was back to my usual crumpled appearance and, indeed, my reception was less suspicious this time.
Slow except for increased military presence at the entrance to villages, partly due to the previous night's terror attack at Hussan and, of course, the international terror alert in the wake of the attempts over recent days. After all, we are not a mere part of the global war on terror: we are THE front line against the marauders.
Dahariyeh: a bus waiting and the passengers standing around it. On investigation it turns out to be a pilgrims' bus to Mecca for the Haj which began on 2/11, waiting for a latecomer and having a smoke.
Dura: the army was checking thoroughly, but not at all at Alfawwar, checking at Bani Naim but not at the Kvasim [Sheep] Junction. On the way back, no checking at all. Its to keep the terrorists guessing.
At the entrance to Hebron, just south of Beit Hagai, a shiny new barrier of barbed wire shines in the sun.
The quietist city in the Middle East. Friendly soldiers greet us smilingly. On the Worshippers' Alley (Tzir Hamitpallelim) the blockades are still in place (and opposite a patrol sits in the sun). The workers of last week have disappeared and the renovations haven't been finished. Maybe everyone has gone to Mecca, including the settlers whom we didn't see or hear either. There is a ceremony of stone throwing during the Haj...they should feel right at home!