Hebron, South Hebron Hills, Thu 16.2.12, Morning
Translator: Charles K.
Rain, rain, rain.
It’s no cliché: Things are hard. So I’ll just repeat for the hundredth time: the almond trees don’t care. The man-made ugliness doesn’t spoil nature’s beauty.
Top: New No Entry signs at the turn from the Cave of the Patriarchs plaza to the Worshippers Route.
Center: A new concrete roadblock at the entrance to the Worshippers Route.
Entry to “Permit Holders Only.” Guess who? Bottom More of the settlers’ pearls of wisdom:
In Hebron, everything’s as it has always been, except that various new signs have been added. The townspeople also demonstrate their presence by new signs, posters and graffiti.
Almost no one walking on the street because of the weather. The soldiers also shelter in their slapdash positions, some of which are being “restorated.” The Golani brigade enjoys making its mark here as well. So, what did we see? That the entry of vehicles to the Worshippers Route has been blocked, and a sign erected reading “Entry to Permit Holders Only.” We wonder who holds permits in an area which is already “apartheid.” They also hung a sign at the entry to the route from the Cave of the Patriarchs plaza, “No Entry.” Maybe they’re preparing for Purim, and it will be removed later? And maybe the segregation is simply being extended, as expected. And, as has already occurred in Israel itself, when people discriminate against others because of race, skin color or nationality, and such discrimination becomes legitimized, now, like a boomerang, they’re discriminating because of sex, class and then political views, and without being aware of it we’re now all slipping down the slope…
Later we again saw part of the marked path, as if it were a Nature Protection Society hiking trail – an arrow and graffiti. Where to?! To the Father Abraham spring. And next to it the settlers’ well-known “blessings” to their Palestinian neighbors. And we also saw a note reminding us what they’re doing in Kiryat Arba. One guess? “Deepening roots.”
A Border Police soldier stops us at the entrance to the plaza, politely this time, and asks M., our driver: “Are you Moslem? You know you’re not allowed to stop there and get out of the car.”
“Why must you say that?”, we ask. “What’s changed? We’re aware of the rules of this plaza, we come every day with this vehicle.”
“OK, I’m just reminding you, I have to do that,” the soldier continues quietly and politely.
We left the city and drove to A-Tuwwani.
We wanted to see and hear what was happening with the children the IDF escorts to and from school, to protect them from being attacked by settlers from Ma’on. It’s good we came. “The honeymoon was short.”
For three days after the meeting with the authorities the jeep arrived on time, but that was it. Thursday, when we arrived, it was already 12:30; they were supposed to have been there at 12:00. It was bitterly cold outside, freezing winds on these hills, unceasing rain, the children waiting outside with the Italian peace activists.
We telephone the DCO, after a number of calls obtain the phone number of the officer in charge. Finally. “What?!” he responds in surprise. “The jeep didn’t arrive?! I’ll look into it immediately.”
Another quarter of an hour passes, an eternity in this cold weather. We update the Italians.
Another call to the DCO: “They’ll be there soon,” the officer in charges replies. The children have already lit a fire to keep warm.
Another quarter of an hour goes by, another phone call: “The company commander is on the way, he’ll be right there,” replies the DCO officer.
And everyone continues to wait in the cold wind. “What’s going on?!” we ask again. “Operational constraints, he’ll be there right away.” An in fact – an hour late, the jeep that enables the children to get home safely finally arrives.
It’s possible, after all, to call the school principal ahead of time on a day such as this to notify him that that escort will be late, and he should keep the children inside! We suggest that to the IDF. That’s a brilliant solution that no one in the IDF is capable of thinking of, based simply on treating people humanely. We gave the Italians the relevant phone number, to give to the principal, and to pressure for at least this minimum.
On our way back we saw the regional council’s children’s bus next to Sussia. Why can’t a similar solution be arranged jointly with the Palestinian Authority for the non-Jewish children from the southern Hebron hills?! Why?!