South Mount Hebron, Hebron, Sansana, Meytar and surroundings
6:50 a.m. As we saw a great many people on the Israeli side, we decided to visit there. Everyone we spoke to had one word to describe their passage "murder!" One man told us that as recently there's only one checking window open, they sometimes miss their employers because they can't get through in time. Another nursed his bruised arm – it got caught in the carousel and was crushed. It was clear that he was in some pain. At the minimalist local "café" a boy of 7 is in charge (forgot to ask for his name and whether he goes to school at all). His eyes have the dead look of children whose lives are difficult, and worse. Mohammed and YK decided to come early next week (4:30) and see what goes on on the other side.
Relatively lively, especially Israeli cars. A few Palestinians, presumably with a death wish, drive/fly past.
Unlike last week, at Dura, entry is open; at Elfawwar, a soldier stands in his booth in full gear, his gun pointed at passers by. Lots of really young children wander along the edges of the road. I wish they wouldn't!
At the Pharmacy checkpoint the angry CPT women tell us that the soldiers are checking every bag. Indeed, in front of our astonished eyes they rummage in the bags of elementary school kids, including one with a geometry set - compass and ruler (sharp objects) which the soldiers presumably have never seen before and which require two of them to go over and discuss. The child passes quite sanguine – presumably, this is routine for him.
A man is detained and given a cursory body check. He wanders round the checkpoint cursing loudly until we fear for his safety. The beigel vendor round the corner (Nizam?) leaves his goods in Mohammed's care and comes round, to calm the poor fellow. The man usually crosses at another checkpoint (no shortage of them!) One of the CPT people claims that she has a letter from ACRI affirming that checking school bags is illegal. She promises to send a copy and asks us to inform the DCO to this effect.
The Worshippers' Lane is as usual. The workers have returned and are renovating Osama's house. But on the road from the lane to Kiryat Arba there seem to be more shops opening for business and even a few signs of painting and refurbishing. "Buy only from Jews" is scrawled on one shop front under a Magen David. The never-ending saga of Hebron.