Mnaizel, South Hebron Hills, Tue 29.11.11, Afternoon

Observers: 
Netanya G. (photos) and Yehudit K.(reporting)
29/11/2011
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Afternoon

We left Beer Sheva later than usual in order to accompany the children from the isolated enclave at Beit Yatir across the checkpoint, also known as Metsudat Yehuda. As reported previously, the children, all from one family, are subjected to thorugh searches of their bags and, sometimes, their persons on their way to and from school. These searches delay their arrival at school and their return home. Although Motti, the checkpoint commander cum-manager has assured us that these allegedly essential searches will be speeded up, we wanted to see for ourselves.

Our way was open and almost deserted and we saw not a single soldier all the way. From K. Arba we drove on to Um Enzail, a tiny village just below Beth Yatir where the children attend school. And here things began to become rather odd. Although we were early, there was already a tender from the PA waiting in the yard to transport pupils. Contrary to previous visits we were not approached by the headmaster, but by a young man whose precise role and function was not clear. He approached Muhammed and apparently insisted that we leave because of some unspecified danger. We noticed that Muhammed was uncomfortable so decided to move on and visit the solar energy panels that have been donated by the Europeans to provide the village with electricty. It is these panels (see photos)

that the Civil Adminstration has decided to destroy allegedly because they have been erected without permission, although the donors apparently got official agreement to install them ahead of time. The village is terribly poor and neglected and the electricy provided by these panels must make a huge difference in people's lives.

We returned to the school ostensibly in time to meet "our" children, only to be informed by the same young man who had scared us off  that they had already gone home. We gave him a lift and returned to the checkpoint where the guards welcomed us and without being asked told us that the children were already beyond the checkpoint and on their way up the hill home. Muhammed checked with the father who confirmed that they arrived more or less on time - which we took to mean that they did reach home earlier than usual. 

Our informant rode with us to his village, a tiny hamlet lying close to the main road. We did notice that they have a wind turbine though, a rarity for West Bank villages. The whole encounter was very strange. The guy did tell me that he worked for Btselem, but that was the extent of his Hebrew and he didn't mention it to Muhammed.

Frustrated, we travelled along route 317 and then back via Dahariya. At the entrance to the road leading to the town a police patrol checked exiting Palestinians for traffic offence records. We passed a large quarry, one of three in the neighbourhood. According to international law the occupying power has the right to use 10% of the occupied territories natural resources.  Israel use 90% of the quarries' product, not only in the Har Hebron region.  The road to Dahariya has been paved by the PA and we noticed many cars with Israeli licence plates. Apparently many Bedouin from the area shop in Dahariya because it is cheaper than Israel. The town seems properous and, unllike Jewish Hebron, full of life.  We passed Ramadiya without incident and, indeed, on our return journey via K. Arba saw no soldiers except for a few jeeps here and there roaring along at  top speed.

A day in the West Bank: the sense of suspended normality is really surreal, like a stage play where any moment the calm is going to be interrupted by a storm, or the villain. We left Beer Sheva later than usual in order to accompany the children from the isolated enclave at Beit Yatir across the checkpoint, also known as Metsudat Yehuda. As reported previously, the children, all from one family, are subjected to thorugh searches of their bags and, sometimes, their persons on their way to and from school. These searches delay their arrival at school and their return home. Although Motti, the checkpoint commander cum-manager has assured us that these allegedly essential searches will be speeded up, we wanted to see for ourselves.
Our way was open and almost deserted and we saw not a single soldier all the way. From K. Arba we drove on to Um Enzail, a tiny village just below Beth Yatir where the children attend school. And here things began to become rather odd. Although we were early, there was already a tender from the PA waiting in the yard to transport pupils. Contrary to previous visits we were not approached by the headmaster, but by a young man whose precise role and function was not clear. He approached Muhammed and apparently insisted that we leave because of some unspecified danger. We noticed that Muhammed was uncomfortable so decided to move on and visit the solar energy panels that have been donated by the Europeans to provide the village with electricty. It is these panels (see photos) that the Civil Adminstration has decided to destroy allegedly because they have been erected without permission, although the donors apparently got official agreement to install them ahead of time. The village is terribly poor and neglected and the electricy provided by these panels must make a huge difference in people's lives.

We returned to the school ostensibly in time to meet "our" children, only to be informed by the same young man who had scared us off  that they had already gone home. We gave him a lift and returned to the checkpoint where the guards welcomed us and without being asked told us that the children were already beyond the checkpoint and on their way up the hill home. Muhammed checked with the father who confirmed that they arrived more or less on time - which we took to mean that they did reach home earlier than usualWe left Beer Sheva later than usual in order to accompany the children from the isolated enclave at Beit Yatir across the checkpoint, also known as Metsudat Yehuda. As reported previously, the children, all from one family, are subjected to thorugh searches of their bags and, sometimes, their persons on their way to and from school. These searches delay their arrival at school and their return home. Although Motti, the checkpoint commander cum-manager has assured us that these allegedly essential searches will be speeded up, we wanted to see for ourselves.
Our way was open and almost deserted and we saw not a single soldier all the way. From K. Arba we drove on to Um Enzail, a tiny village just below Beth Yatir where the children attend school. And here things began to become rather odd. Although we were early, there was already a tender from the PA waiting in the yard to transport pupils. Contrary to previous visits we were not approached by the headmaster, but by a young man whose precise role and function was not clear. He approached Muhammed and apparently insisted that we leave because of some unspecified danger. We noticed that Muhammed was uncomfortable so decided to move on and visit the solar energy panels that have been donated by the Europeans to provide the village with electricty. It is these panels (see photos) that the Civil Adminstration has decided to destroy allegedly because they have been erected without permission, although the donors apparently got official agreement to install them ahead of time. The village is terribly poor and neglected and the electricy provided by these panels must make a huge difference in people's lives.