Hebron, South Hebron Hills, Tue 15.11.11, Morning
Palestinian Independence Day
at 09.45 is clear except for goods vehicles waiting to be checked.
Fairly busy, because of the holiday a lot of Palestinian vehicles.
The Dura Beit Fuwar checkpoint is open. In the shade of the watch tower a group of soldiers enjoys their elevenses while in the background earth-moving equipment and bitonnadot await action.
At the Kiryat Arba entrance, the guard scolds Muhammed because on a previous visit he had said he was going to K. Arba but went instead to Givat Abshalom. the budding settlement to the north. Nu!
Mutatis mutandi after a long absence things seem different but in fact remain the same. There seem to be more, and more vivid, graffiti in both Arabic and Hebrew. At Jewish Tel-Romeida there is a watchtower overlooking the free city of Hebron (H1); opposite the entrance to the Patriarchs' Tombs' Cave, the one for 'Arabs' only, a Border Policeman tells us that no Palestinian may pass in front of the Gutnick building, even if that is the simplest route to his/her house.
The worshippers lane is empty, there are some bright graffiti in Arabic near the top end where two soldiers guard the way, complaining bitterly about the cold. One of them claims that this is a permanent position and that it is staffed 24/7 - although we have not seen soldiers here for some time and its hardly the Champs Elysee that it needs guarding all night!
We go next to visit the J'aber family whose home is right under the entrance to Kiryat Arba. The Jabers' were being interviewed by French TV who also wanted to interview us but we referred them to Michal Tsaddik. The Jabers' suffer ongoing harrassment both from the Civil Adminstration (i.e. the military agency responsible for civilians in the West Bank) and from settlers who regularly steal crops and llivestock, as well as conducting nightime raids, shouting and cursing and throwing stones. The Jabers' have made a video which we will put on Facebook and You-tube and Netanya gave them her telephone number so they can call her in real time if there is an attack. The sad truth is though that given their strategic location (which long precedes that of Kiryat Arba of course) there is little hope that we can help, which is no reason not to try. The family's resistance over the last 20 or more years is truly admirable. The civil administration refuses to supply them with water so they purchase tanks for personal and home use only, meaning they have no agricutural water. This is all part of the plan to get them off their land by fair means or foul. On the family's recommendation we went to see an unstaffed checkpoint, purportedly so narrow that the children have difficulty squeezing through, and then only in single file. Because of the holiday there were no children passing, so we will go next week.