South Hebron Mt., Thursday, 8.9.11, Morning
Purpose of shift: A meeting with Eid in order to arrange and prepare art/music activities at Huda’s
preschool, specifically, to prepare the first two meetings with the children. We didn’t bring a camera this time because the purpose was to meet with Eid and focus on a music/art program for the preschool. It was a decision we regretted.
Several kilometers south of Suysia, between Samua and Ghuane, we saw a number of vehicles on both sides of the road: border police jeeps and cars most likely of the civil administration. There were also heavy equipment vehicles. Workers in civilian dress were working on an electricity pole on the Samua side of the road. Further from the road on the Ghuane side, local residents were distanced from the work area by the army (there were also news cameramen and reports from an Arab news network). We stopped to see what was going on. The first soldiers we talked with, innocently it seems, told us that there is a problem with the electricity poles and Israel is removing them in order to replace them with something safer. Of course, everyone who is aware of the reality of life in the southern Hebron hills understands that is complete nonsense. After talking with the locals and the reporters, it was clear that the electricity poles provide electricity to Ghuane from Samua. Money from the European Union – perhaps from the Palestinian Authority - paid for the work which was done a year ago. As we watched, one of poles was removed and placed on a truck to remove it from the area. Now the residents of Ghuane have no electricity! According to Eid, who we met afterwards, the use of high poles was not allowed, and then later they were told that the electrical lines were not high enough off the ground and therefore were dangerous. On our return about 3 hours later, it was impossible to identify where the work had taken place – all the poles had been taken down and removed. As in the fictitious Macondo of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, all footprints were simply erased – very unfortunate that we did not bring a camera this time.
It turns out that this is an especially active day for the destruction of property. In the morning, the army (border police) arrived together with the civil administration and workers and destroyed a number of structures (outhouse, a tent, a sukkah, and perhaps other things) – again we regretted not bringing a camera!. Because most of the houses of Um-al-Khair that are located along the fence of Carmel is slated for destruction, the residents are very worried, including Eid. His wife didn’t go to work (she is a teacher at a school in Khashem-al-Daraj). She and Eid moved most of their belongings (including their two daughters) to his parents’ house because the workers who destroy the houses are not careful when they removed belongings from them. It was Eid and his wife’s good luck that this time their house was not destroyed but they were notified that the workers would return in two weeks to continue their destructive work. When we left in the morning, we joked about the possibility of finding a coffee house along the way where we could meet Eid – and it was our luck to find a house (Eid’s) and also good coffee prepared by his wife. We were filled with admiration and respect for Eid that given the circumstance, he was insistent that the meeting take place as planned. Not many people could maintain such calmness in this situation.
What is the purpose of all this destruction, moments before the impending events in the international area? – it is not clear. Somebody really wants to heat up the situation.