Hebron, South Hebron Hills, Mon 20.12.10, Morning
Translator: Charles K.
By 06:40 there’s no longer a line and many laborers wait on the Israeli side, some lighting bonfires to keep warm. There will be no buses today with relatives of prisoners.
On our way back through the Meitar crossing they always open the side door of the transit to see what we’re bringing – today they saw the tasty rolls we bought next to the al Ibrahamiya school for boys in Hebron.
Soldiers guard the illegal “Eshtamo’a” outpost. Their bench, under the prefab, is painted blue. Really cheap. Soldiers below Beit Haggai, at the entrance to Klilikis and also at Hakvasim junction, and they are the only ones who get out of the jeep but don’t stop cars. At the pillbox above Kliklis, where you can see the observation balloon in the air, infrastructure work continues. Three pieces of heavy equipment are still there, apparently building a military base. There’s another military position at Beit Haggai – a low pillbox that wasn’t manned, and now is.
At Shayukh – a school for girls – a red sign has been erected announcing that one is entering the Palestinian Authority, which, of course, we’re not allowed to do. The road here has been straightened, and there are piles of sand on both sides: a ”lovely” checkpoint. The concrete barriers and large boulders are still there, and you still take your life in your hands to cross the road. Still, someone who wants to go from Shayukh to Hebron must, instead of a five-minute ride must drive more than half an hour via Sa’ir to Halhul and from there to Hebron. New graffiti reading “Kahana was right” on many boulders on both sides of the road. Adurayim is also Jewish – above Kiryat Arba, in the direction of Bani Na’im a new settlement or an expansion of Kiryat Araba is creeping along not so slowly – a large shed has been erected there – access is through the Kiryat Arba industrial zone – not exactly a creeping annexation of Palestinian lands.
No detainees at any manned checkpoint and the children run to school. We met the CPT women at the Pharmacy checkpoint. Because of the holidays, only three remained and we had a pleasant conversation. One had already been here five years ago, and there hasn’t been anything new under the occupation’s sun.
What is new – the worshipper’s route is open to cars (just Israeli cars?). When Netanya and I were walking a car belonging to settlers roared past…(one of Anat Cohen’s friends). The checkpoint at Beit HaMeriva has been removed – the soldiers are still on the roof. The Palestinians we met on the worshippers route said that most of the harassment in on Friday and Saturday, and asked us to be present on those days, but we can’t. There’s an army jeep opposite the worshippers route, a major standing beside it. His name is Li’al – a pleasant, smiling guy. I report the Palestinians’ complaints about the settlers’ harassment and the officer replies that he understands every humiliation and harassment of Palestinians by soldiers or settlers creates security problems, and he protects Palestinians only because of security issues. To illustrate what he means he tells us the following story: Yesterday in the late afternoon children from Kiryat Arba arrived to play soccer near the “Giborei Khevron” neighborhood. Their ball rolled to the Palestinian side and was lost. The children called their mothers who, in an act of reprisal against the Palestinian children, decided to steal a donkey from the Palestinians! The soldiers stopped the mothers and prevented them from doing so… Only in Hebron could something like that occur. The officer explains to me why pillboxes are required in Area H1 – which is under Palestinian control – for security reasons, of course – and shows me the way to the pillbox in the Jabel Juhar neighborhood (through the Kiryat Arba industrial zone). I ask him about the Tziyon route; he answers that 28 Palestinian cars have permits from the DCO to drive on the route on Giv’at He’Avot. He says they have to blow their horn so the soldier guarding the entrance to the Jewish neighborhood will open the gate for them. It is unnecessary to mention that there is so little freedom of movement that no Palestinian, even if he has a permit, uses that route. The settlers, on the other hand, use it in spades, with nary an ounce of manners or politeness – it’s very dangerous to drive there.
Next to Beit HaMeriva we run into Osama, who tells us that they’re still renovating his house on the worshippers route, and there’s nothing new regarding the judicial process.
This evil, delusional city (because of us…) always leaves a bad taste in the mouth, and a terrible feeling.