Hebron, South Hebron Hills, Mon 7.2.11, Morning
Translation: Bracha B.A.
At 06:30 there are already no workers waiting. On the other hand, three cars do wait to enter Israel with their hoods open and the dogs sniffing at them. I have been going out on shifts for a long time but never seen this before. The drivers enter a caravan to be checked. M., our driver, says that occasionally they do this to people with Arab Israelis (Bedouin) too, but that those who look like settlers are never checked. This is racism dictated by appearance and not by color. When we returned there were two busses of families waiting in the parking lot that had arrived while we were away. The passengers reported that everything was OK.
It is two weeks after Tu Bishvat and the almond trees here are just beginning to flower. There is a bit of green vegetation for the flocks. At the entrance to Samoa there is a large billboard advertising a Blackberry with a man drinking coffee dressed in a business suit. It looks ironic against the background of the poor locals dressed in kafiyyas and eagerly hoping to get a work permit for the day. This is an illustration of the financial feasibility of the occupation. Winter holiday is over and the children are walking to school. The pillboxes are all manned and there are no temporary roadblocks.
At the entrance to Beit Hagai there is an army jeep and soldiers went out to look around, standing in the cold.
The Entrance to Beit Naim- We follow a jeep that has driven up to the vineyard belonging to a settler. He is working in the vineyard with four soldiers on guard. One can easily understand now what the security budget is spent on and why the price of bread has gone up.
The pillbox on Gross Square is empty, but on the roof of the wholesale market where the squatters were evicted there is another guard position and a soldier is standing there. The Palestinian families from whom the market was confiscated will not return to live here as it now stands.
Patriarchs' Tombs' Cave: there are several young detainees at the checkpoint next to the Cave. Within ten minutesthey are all released, having being informed (by us) that no one can be detained for over 20 min. unless an officer explicitly authorizes. An officer from the Border Police is driving around in a white car. The checkpoint opens for him as well as for laborers who are coming renovate the house belonging to Abed, the store's owner.
The Pharmacy Checkpoint–A quarrel erupts between the youth selling pita and the soldiers when they attempted to confiscate a small knife in his possession. The sixteen year old was enraged and a ten-year-old attempted to calm him down. The soldiers claim that with such a knife he could murder another Shalhevet Paz (an Jewish infant girl shot to death some years ago in Hebron). After we intervened the youth finally agreed to leave the knife at the checkpoint and receive it back when he returns.
This is the routing of occupation. We come only for a minute but the Palestinians live with this all the time.
At Azam's metal shop people tell us about the Palestinian police and their investigations, and the bearded members of Hamas. The Middle East is a complex place.