Hebron, South Hebron Hills, Thu 30.6.11, Afternoon
Unaware of the tumultuous visit of our Minister of Justice that morning to the Cave of the Patriarchs that morning we drove to the South. The walls along Road 60 are nearing completion and inhabitans of Beitar Illit and Tzur Hadassa will soon be able to drive to Jerusalem through what is almost a tunnel all the way. All vehicles with passengers with oriental features are stopped at the Tunnel CP which caused somewhat of a bottleneck, but it wasn’t rush hour.
On the way we noted how recklessly the drivers behaved and wondered why there were no more accidents. Along the road near Al Arub and Beit Ummar were fruit stands with plums and peaches.
At the entrance to the road to Halhul there is a red sign, warning Israelis against entery. Many cars were parked all around the corner. No one asked us where we were heading when we entered the road to Kiryat Arba, where we noted the new neighborhood Nofei Mamrei with its model apartment and its extension connected by a beautiful boulevard with gardening and lighting to Kiryat Arba itself.
The passage through the rubble of Hebron has not changed most of the patrolling soldiers are from the Border Police. We parked near the mosque and walked along. A soldier near Beit Romano wondered what we were doing there (we took our tags off, but someone nevertheless spat at us from a car) and was hesitating as to whether he should let us through (anxious re our safety). A group of parachuters armed to the teeth walked towards Tel Romeida – we followed them and on the way ‘admired’ the new decorations along the street with the various scenes depicting the Jewish past in Hebron and some of the memorial sites. The Palestinian pedestrians don’t carry any belongings and hurry into their shuttered homes without dwelling. Some children greeted us from behind their fenced windows.
A tanker with drinking water for the soldiers created havoc at the entrance of Tel Romeida since no other vehicle could pass. We talked to some of the inhabitants who praised us for coming to ‘see the sights’ – O. said she felt like a ‘spy’ and told us that they get their water in a special pipe from Kiryat Arba. We were invited to view the excavations which date back to before 4,000 BC, and noted how buildings on ugly pillars are constructed straight above them. In the Moslem graveyard next-door the grave of Yishai will probably be turned into the ‘land of Yishay’ and can thus belong legally to the Jews.
A mini-bus, driven by one of the settlers, came to pick up some children to the pool of Kiryat Arba – he serves the various settlement spots within the area and the service is free He took us back to where our car was parked near the mosque. Needless to say the ride was free. An Ethiopian soldier chased some little peddler kids away. We drove to the Harsina junction and entered the closed off ghetto with its nice housing and many cycling kids.
There is no left-turn into Halhul from Road 60. However, a hundred yards further on, an extra lane facilitated the left turn into a beautiful road towards Carmei Tzur. We entered the settlement and inspected the new ‘project’ consisting of a huge extension – with its own "model apartment". It is exquisitely located with a view over the vineyards (the famous Hebron grapes) and it looks as if it is only inhabited by Ashkenazi Jews.