Mon 28.2.11, Morning
calm, most people had passed by 7:00 am
very quiet, only a very few military vehicles and all checkpoints open en route.
At the entrance to K. Arba, the settlement opposite (Havat Feldman?) looks like its sprouting caravans, but not clear if these are recently new.
in the city itself, all is routine.
the Pharmacy Checkpoint is silent, so is the area around the Patriarchs' Tombs' Cave. At the old market, now the Avraham Avinu settlement(?) a soldier stands on the roof. At the grocery store between Jewish and Palestinian Tel Romeida (henceforth Nethanya's makolet) a broken window. We are told that on Sunday a settler from Tel Romeida smashed it with a pole, right under the noses of Israel's defenders. When the store keeper went out to protest he was apparently beaten by one of the soldiers, a 19 year-old youth was arrested, but released and the store-keeper was taken by the police to the Givat Harsina station to lodge his complaint. The anxiety and fear were clearly visible on the faces of all concerned.
Two states - for one nation!
We parted from Netanya who returned to Jerusalem and the rest of us made for Route 317 where a checkpoint/terminal Metzudat Yehuda is located. We went there at the request of Hamed Kawasmeh of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and Michal. On arrival the manager rushed to meet us, very touching, and in response to our repeated requests clarified patiently that the terminal separated Israel from Judea and Samaria, no, not Area C - areas C and B no longer exist. We were standing in Judea and Samaria (I think in the Judean bit if my biblical memory is correct!) Oh, and of course, the Seam Area. In that enclave are trapped the Abu Q'beita family, about 30 people, 18 of them children, who can only leave and enter via the terminal and interminable checks of their persons, papers and belongings, including the X-ray machine.Their permits are issued by name and must be renewed every 6 months.
Hamed Qawassmeh was concerned that the children, who attend school in the village of Manzeil, so near and yet so far, are frequently delayed when the terminal is busy with its Israeli-only customers (n Palestinians pass here!). The principla of the school is not very forgiving and the children, presumably, are punished or at least scolded for a delay that is patently not their fault. He asked that MachsomWatch speak to the uber-boss of the terminal, our very own Moti from Sansana-Meitar, and ask that a solution be found. Hamed also complained that he was not permitted to pass the terminal, despite his status as an employee of an international organization and that he was frequently harassed and humilitated before being refused passage.
Together with Hamed we met Ms Pauline Nono of the EAPPI, an international group of observers that frequently cooperates with MachsomWatch. She wishes to establish a group to monitor Mezudat Yehuda and we will meet with her and her group next week.We will also visit the Abu Q'beida clan since the families are very cut off - no one can visit them sinceno Palestinians cannot enter the Seam Zone here, except for this one family.
this information has been passed to Michal Tzadik for action.