Hebron, Fri 18.2.11, Morning
Translator: Charles K.
Minister for Education, Gid’on Sa’ar’s plan for a pilot program of school tours to Hebron upset us all. Raya enlisted Yair Altman, a journalist from YNET, to come see Hebron through our eyes, and give him an opportunity see what really goes on in Hebron. He’d already been there before with other hosts…Noam Federman and Orit Struck, spokesmen for the Hebron Jewish community committee.
I gave him a very comprehensive tour. On our way to Kiryat Arba he also saw the flying checkpoint at the Kvasim junction and how they’re simply harassing for no reason at all. I’m not sure he also felt that way – you hear the usual mantra: “The IDF knows what’s it’s doing.” The question is how they know whom to check and whom not to check? Each time I’m amazed anew by this approach, and the fact that’s it’s seen as natural to suspect everyone in advance. There were more flying checkpoints at the entrance to Bani Na’im.
In Hebron, worried about Anat Cohen ((I don’t know what’s happened to me, but I’m more afraid each time), I disguised myself as a settler: I didn’t display the Machsom Watch badge, I wore a skirt, blouse and hat – the disguise was perfect and even Az’am from the metal shop laughed and said I looked just like them.
Mitzpeh Avichai – The outpost built on the hill opposite the entrance to Kiryat Arba – they build and demolish and build and demolish on Palestinian land. What is forbidden to Palestinians is permitted to Jews.
The grave of Baruch Goldstein, the murderer – The inscription on the memorial is truly chilling.
Federman’s farm – It was demolished, so he's built a shack and put a trailer there – nothing’s changed.
The Kiryat Arba industrial zone and all the surrounding checkpoints that prevent Palestinians from travelling freely by car from one neighborhood to another. Their means of transportation are their feet, donkeys and taxis to travel from one checkpoint to the next – and the settlement has also been extended toward Bani Na’im by an additional trailer, and the area of the winery has been expanded.
Tzion route – The Border Police base in Hebron, the Kapisha neighborhood and Giv’at Hakharsina – here, too, people can cross only on foot – a cup of tea and pleasant chat with Az’am in the metal shop.
Giv’at HaAvot checkpoint – We saw a Palestinian ambulance being delayed for 20 minutes.
Beit HaMeriva and the adjacent checkpoints.
The “Giborei Khevron” neighborhood – We went up to the pillbox below Kiryat Arba – the road restricted to Jews.
Walking along the Worshippers' Route – The blocked doors of the homes belonging to the Palestinian residents.
The checkpoint at Curve 160 – We saw the handicapped girls who go through in wheelchairs, nicely dressed for some school event – it’s Friday; there were no classes.
The Pharmacy checkpoint
The Avraham Avinu neighborhood – the wholesale market and the Sharabati house
Shuhada Street and the Cave of the Patriarchs
A visit to the “Cordoba” school, then walking to the cemetery to demonstrate the complete separation between the areas where Palestinians are allowed to walk – the railing of the stairs to Cordoba has recently been repainted an optimistic sky-blue color.
Tarpa”t checkpoint, the road up to Tel Rumeida, the Jewish cemetery and tea at Hadi’s home (next to Issa’s house)
The Jewish neighborhood of Tel Rumeida and tea in the house across the way.
We met the groups led by Avichai and Yehuda, from “Breaking the Silence.”
During the tour we twice had to follow up on detainees – at the checkpoint up on Tel Rumeida and at the Cave of the Patriarchs checkpoints – at the latter, a female Christian tourist wasn’t allowed to enter the Cave and intervention was necessary. Anat ran into me once and asked whether I had nothing better to do on Friday?!
We went around Hebron for five hours and met many Palestinians – that’s the message from a different kind of tour.