Hebron, South Hebron Hills, Mon 23.5.11, Afternoon
Around 1:50 p.m. We noticed a line of workers with large sacks on their backs so we decided to check things out: They passed very quickly. We were accosted at the entrance to the crossing area by a man who has never had a permit but had submitted a request via Sylvia P who hadn't got back to him yet. Despite our inability to help he offered us refreshments and someone asked if we would like to cross the checkpoint. Apparently this is a meeting place for the unemployed and they feel rather at home here.
fairly quiet and completely open till we reached the Sheep Checkpoint where we found ourselves in a parallel universe:
A large military vehicle had stopped a car with a man from Yatta. The soldiers had never heard of MachsomWatch, nor were they interested in hearing now, but nevertheless permitted us to stand and watch a little theater of the absurd that played itself out before our eyes.
The suspect had a fringed garment worn by religious men under or over their clothes in his car. Settlers tend to leave the fringes dangling demonstratively. A fringed garment (Tzizith) but no Jew? Very suspicious. The suspect claimed he'd found the garment in the rubbish and used it as a duster. A young staff sergeant said "we've seen this kind of thing before unfortunately". A second suspect now appeared from the shadow of the miliary vehicle and an officer with the rank of captain ordered the sergeant to take the suspects' telephones, smilingly assuring us that these would be returned. Which they were. The Blue police then arrived (only clad in black like Mussolini's bodyguard) and Yali heard them say to release the men but to keep tabs on them for the future.
Personal details were duly recorded, the Tzizith removed with shock and awe and we all went our separate ways. Was the man planning on a disguise as a settler to bring shame and disgrace on the Jews? Or did he wish to use it as a duster as a subversive act? Or did he rob some poor settler and leave him fringeless in an orchard?
We proceeded to Occupied Hebron which was routinely quiet(one or two more shops open than usual) and then in a subversive act of our own went on to free Hebron which appears to be prospering nicely and ate knafe in honour of the newly born Rami. Then home via Dura and Dahariyeh where, in a further act of civil disobedience, we stopped off for tea and shared a nargileh. As we were leaving a man approached us with yet another request with help for a permit: all we could do was to give him Sylvia P.'s no and that of the Moked.