Hebron, South Hebron Hills, Tue 22.3.11, Morning
Translator: Charles K.
Laborers are still crossing in the morning at this time. There are many, because it’s the first Sunday the crossing is open after the Purim closure.
– Children walking to school; the landscape welcoming – poppies and storks. You might think all that beauty will be calming, but it isn’t. A flying checkpoint for cars at the Kvasim junction – no line.
Very many military vehicles on the road, but no other flying checkpoints.
Past Kiryat Arba, toward Jerusalem, we see a police car, an army jeep and Palestinian cars. We stop to see what’s happening and discover:
Palestinian contractors hired by the Israel Electric Company are working there, erecting a tall electric pole in one of the vineyards. The Palestinian contractors reached an agreement with the Palestinian landowners on compensation for their agreement to erecting the pole. But it turns out that today they changed their minds, are interfering with the work and trying to damage the bulldozers (such work is always carried out with the army’s protection(.
The army called the police, and a policeman who speaks fluent Arabic came to calm things down. The soldiers called for more help; ten more soldiers and two officers arrived.
Negotiations were needed. If there were no occupation, they would have been conducted without the presence of the military. But here – here it looked terrible, and also veru obvious was the great economic difference between the Palestinian contractors in their fancy cars, compared to the Palestinian farmers. There was no harassment, so we drove on.
– Many military vehicles, but they don’t seem to be interfering with traffic. At the grocery in Tarqumiya they tell us the army’s ok, but they fear the settlers.
The Palestinians say that, overall, the Purim parade in Kiryat Arba and Hebron passed quietly. The settlers from Kiryat Arba and Hebron paraded through the Palestinian neighborhoods to the Cave of the Patriarchs, the army separating the populations. No one threw rocks and no one was arrested – which is also a relief.
Curve 160: The beginning of the Tzion Route. Once again we see a Palestinian vehicle coming through here, something we haven’t seen for a long time. The soldiers inspect the car and let it continue. Children pass on their way to school.
Pharmacy checkpoint: Border Police soldiers manning the checkpoint. Most of the children had crossed by the time we arrived. We ran into CPT activists who told us that the Palestinian family living near Kiryat Arba, on Giv’at Ha’kharsina, has been suffering greatly since the murders in Itamar from repeated harassment by the settlers. We asked for the family’s phone number so we could visit them.
Tarpa”t checkpoint, Tel Rumeida checkpoint – No detainees, and a fair number of people in the area.
Cave of the Patriarchs checkpoints – Peace activists are gathered at the checkpoint near ‘Abed’s shop, watching the detainees. One of the detainees has his cellphone taken away – he appears very feeble-minded, and the Border Police soldiers won’t tell me why they took his pone. The activists say he’s been detained more than half an hour; the soldiers tell him to move back – I remind them that they’re not allowed to detain someone longer than 20 minutes without orders from an officer – and an officer appears. He explains they took the detainee’s phone at the request of the GSS. The detainee’s phone rings; it’s returned to him – he hasn’t been released yet. Meanwhile a minor confrontation develops between the peace activists and one of the settlers who yells at them in English, putting on airs, that the Palestinians collaborated with Hitler, let them go to Sudan and Libya – there are no human rights violations here. I ask the peace activists not to respond – most of them don’t, and after a brief discussion they walk toward H1. Meanwhile, the detainee is still there. Ten minutes later the officer shows up and releases him, along with his cellphone, and a document that he must sign requiring him to appear for interrogation – an interview with Captain Yoav at the Etzion DCO. The feeble-minded youth signed and left…
We returned to the occupation routine.