Hebron, South Hebron Hills, Sun 2.1.11, Morning
Translator: Charles K.
We watched the livelihoods of people and families being trampled, as if it were an Xbox game.
We watched the dignity of a Palestinian citizen being trampled by a reservist at a flying checkpoint.
The account of a father who’s son was run over in Hebron, and more.
We arrived about 7:00; there was still a short line on the Palestinian side, so we entered. Relatives of prisoners already stood on line, but moved aside for the trickle of laborers who were still arriving.
We started walking back to our vehicle, passing the stands – we didn’t know we that we should have photographed them because there’d soon be no memory of them – people wishing us “Sabah al hir” [Good morning], when suddenly a large force comprising dozens of Border Police soldiers, DCO staff, GSS men (apparently) and others, closed the place off and rushed in “in a daring military operation.” The forces broke though towar the “dangerous criminals,” the stallkeepers at the entrance to the checkpoint. Quickly the goods were confiscated, keys to the vehicles taken, and that was it!! One merchant tried to reclaim his pitas, hoping he’d be allowed to take them with him…but nothing was missed: not a box of candy people tried to hide in a different vehicle, nor a pot nor a can of soda. We couldn’t do anything. The confiscated cars were taken in a caravan to the Etzion DCO. Regarding the merchandise, they have to contact the Palestinian DCO. They can get the vehicles back after paying a large fine, which, of course, they can’t afford.
In the absence of other wars, a battle against peddlers is the best we can do.
At the entrance to Karameh – a flying checkpoint. A Hummer ambulance parked on the side and three reservists inspect vehicles with yellow license plates. Soon after we stopped the green ID was returned and the passengers allowed to continue. They stoped next to us and the passenger told us how the soldiers humiliated them. While we were listening to him, the reservist showed up and demonstrated what the hobnailed boot is like: “Get out of the car! You! Now!” he ordered/barked at the man in the car. He was angry that we spoke to the man he’d just inspected at the checkpoint. We stood between them and begged that he allow them to go; we were the ones who stopped them – how were they at fault?! Unwillingly, the soldier released his prey, but hissed at us, “They’re bad enough, but he’ll never get used to Israel-haters like us” – so be it. The officer tried, in fact, to calm him down and shut him up. What I still don’t understand: an ambulance serving as a checkpoint?
We saw no delays at the rest of the junctions and checkpoints, but there were patrols.
We arrived at about 9 AM. A new guard contacted his superiors before allowing us to continue. We drove on the worshippers route and an elderly Palestinian, who identified our vehicle, stopped us and told Muhammad his story. He lives near the entrance to Kiryat Arba. Last Wednesday his 10-year-old son was hit by a car driven by a settler. Hit-and-run. The army took the boy to the hospital. He was released, but has bruises and neck pains. The father wrote down the license number of the vehicle, and has its exact description. But the police did nothing. The man’s name is Abdel Rahman al Harbawi. He isn’t accusing the driver of intentionally hitting his son, but is pained that he didn’t stop to help.
We didn’t come across any other incidents.
Additional hearsay testimonies
Leah stopped at the Etzion DCO on her way to Jerusalem, and this is what she was told:
She met a disabled man who isn’t able to get out of his vehicle but came to the DCO from Hebron in order to find out what happened to his 18-year-old son who was arrested last Thursday. He lives near Kiryat Arba. Last Thursday settlers threw rocks at his home. His son, together with three friends, got mad at them. In response the army showed up and arrested them. Leah acceded to his request and went to find out what happened to the son and his three friends. It turned out that the GSS are now holding them. Thus shall be done to he who tries to resist settlers who throw rocks at him.
A man from Bethlehem who went to pray at the Cave of the Patriarchs was stopped at its entrance and told to meet an officer named Gidron at 10:30 at the Etzion DCO. Leah met him waiting there because he’d gotten a note to that effect at the Cave of the Patriarchs checkpoint.