Hebron, South Hebron Hills, Mon 29.11.10, Morning
At 6.45 only prisoners' families and a few men were still there, awaiting inspection. The gates opened at 6.50. Maran from the Red Cross said that Sansana is more efficient than Tarqumyia (although maybe last time he said the opposite.) Ali from the Palestinian DCO asked after Michal and told us that three checking windows were open that morning and that only Sunday is really bad. Seems it depends on who you talk to round here. The claim that the Palestinians should organize things around here, so as to prevent over-crowding is not really relevant: people come from all over the Southern West Bank, traveling for hours with many obstacles and flying checkpoints en route, so it is really impossible to coordinate their arrival. And of course, once they are already in line, there's overwhelming pressure to reach employers by 7am. The only real solution is, therefore – if checkpoint must be had – to open up more checking points/windows. Samir from the falafel tent will probably get his equipment back; if so, why take it in the first place? Well, because…
At the entrance to Shamua soldiers are checking those entering. Dura Elfawwar is open. Soldiers stand at the turning just below Beit Hagai and at the entrance to the Industrial Zone.
After our routine tour, and the traditional stop-over at Abed's, we decided to take our guests on foot along the Worshippers Way. Outside one of the houses we encountered a patrol of 5-6 soldiers seeking entry into one of the houses. We stopped to observe, hearing a woman's voice and some children from within. One of the TIPH people arrived, ignored us and went on to fetch reinforcement. Meanwhile, the patrol's commander went in search of the home owner, who duly arrived and invited the soldiers in. TIPHers and we in their wake followed. It appears the house overlooks (if you crane-stretch your neck and risk death by falling) the Worshippers Way and so, is convenient for targeting (Jewish) passers by. The soldiers examined the view and left, as did the TIPH people.
We remained with the Jaber family who told us they are eleven souls, two brothers and their wives and children. Every shabbat they have (uninvited) guests in the shape of IDF soldiers who close them in the bedroom, forbid them to use the bathroom or take food and then leave, leaving a mess behind. When we saw, the house was spotlessly clean, but in very poor repair: damp on the ceiling and peeling paint. The owner told us that he would repair it but is forbidden to do so by the Civil Administration/army (not clear which).
We gave them the phone no. of the Center for the Defence of the Indidivual (Moked), with a warning that there is not much that can be done. Details have also been passed on to Hanna Barag and Michal Tzadik (MW), though it is doubtful that anything can be done to help here. One just hopes that the Jabers won't find their balcony closed off one day, leaving them with no light in their living room and kitchen. Had we not been there would the soldiers have burst into the house instead of waiting patiently? Hard to tell. A day in the life of a Palestinian family.