Hebron, South Hebron Hills, Susiya, Mon 5.12.11, Morning
Trans. by: Jenny L.
The workers have gone through. En route we see a bus carrying families to visit prisoners.
New earth obstructions; children on their way to school; very few cars. Once again we feel angry at the absence of any signage of the names of Arab-Palestinian villages along the roads, as if they simply do not exist. At the entrance to Avda, we see an army jeep going into the village. We follow in its tracks. What is it seeking in this Palestinian village?
There's a large road sign announcing in Hebrew: "slow down on the curve" in the centre of the village. It seems that a jeep enters the village at least ten times a day simply to observe Route 60 from above. We glean this fact from a conversation with young people in the village. They are already used to it. These guys are nice, they tell us - they are reservists.
Dura Al-Fawwar: there's a police patrol car in the square below the pillbox, parked at the most dangerous spot on the road. Next to the pillbox, the flags of the Lavi Battalion are flapping in the wind. The policemen are getting ready to arbitrarily issue traffic fines. In this way, a few more people will be served with Police bans (restricting their movement) and the Israel Police will financially benefit from the Palestinians. Why not shove them round a little more, if it's possible?
A soldier is guarding the hitchhiker's stand at the entrance to Kiryat Arba. Ten caravans painted in the Mizpe Avichai shade of brown cover the hills to the right. Each week their volume increases and solar heating tanks are already to be seen. We wonder, and not for the first time, if this is an illegal outpost in the making?
: Pharmacy Junction School children pass through without any difficulties while Border Police soldiers are engaged in an 'open fire' drill. A small boy, aged about three, opens the door of a house near the checkpoint and is given a sweet by a soldier. We go into area H1 with the intention of buying Hebron's wonderful pita bread from the bakery. The soldier tries to prevent my entry, but I ignore him, buy the pita bread and go back through the checkpoint.
"Aren't you frightened," the soldiers ask me. A big loop of wire has been added to the orange gate next to the checkpoint. Children are swinging on the turnstile.
This morning the city looks even more deserted than is usual. Children are playing next to the abandoned checkpoint at the end of Zion Route (referred to by the Palestinians as Jabari).
The barrier is still in place. We go into a nearby metal workshop to have a coffee.
Palestinian Susiya, South Hebron Hills
We notice a new road sign on road 356, shortly after Elazar junction, indicating a turn to the left to "Antenna Hill".
We go in and see Wadi Manzil people plowing their field with a donkey. They tell us that every Tuesday settlers under army protection come to pray on the site.
Mohammed and I forecast that there will be a new illegal outpost here within the month. We phone Hagit from Peace Now to let her know.
We then continue toward Palestinian Susiya, in Area B, where an elementary school was recently built. Personnel from the Civil Authority paid a visit at the start of the building project and found no cause to object to it. Until completion of the school, children either didn't go to school at all or stayed with relatives in Ya'ata so that they could be near a school. But the school signifies attachment, a sort of tie to the land, and this the Civil Authority and the settlers from Jewish Susiya cannot abide and so they have managed to come up with a legal clause that allowed them to have demolition orders issued for the school and the water wells, including the structures and the access roads. The school is one recognised by the Palestinian Authority and includes four classrooms and an external toilet building.
We meet Ezra there, knowing that there had been contact with The Villages Group and that they are looking for a lawyer to take their case. As ever there is no money and a hearing has been set for 15 December.
This today is the face of Israeli occupation.