Hebron, Sansana (Meitar Crossing), South Hebron Hills, Tue 6.3.12, Morning
We start out from Beersheva at 6:30 am and reach Meitar-Sansana just before 7:00.
The checkpoint is almost empty and the few families on prisoner visits hurry through as 7:00 am strikes.
The usual crowd of men hanging round the entrance to the turnstiles ask if we can help get permits. When we explain that we can't, they ask if they should talk to Sylvia (P) who is the correct address for requests of this kind, even if her ability to help is limited, not for want of trying!
Open, quiet except for the children on their precarious way to school.
At the Sheep Checkpoint the weekly animal market is in full swing and, following a phone call from Netanya who is slightly delayed on the road from Jerusalem, we take a break to see the action. Lots of earnet men haggling over goats and sheep and a truck-load of camels, rather squashed and complaining bitterly.
Although Purim in Hebron does not begin until Thursday night since it is a walled city, in K. Arba Purim costumes abound.
Hebron is quiet as we enter and having toured the Tel Romeida area and driven up to the Jewish cemetery we decide to take the 'tourist' route up the back stairs. A soldier at Beth Hadassah opposite the steps nods smiling to us as we climb up and we emerge without incident on the post-rain lush meadow with its ancient olive tress (see photograhs by Natanya in separate mail). We cross the meadow without incident and take a path that leads through the Muslim cemetery back to the Old City and Shuhada Street. A group of Palestinian workers hails us and one of them, Idris, comes over to talk to us. He tells us that one day (not clear when) he found the three-year old son of Anat Cohen, the well-known settler activist, wandering around the streets in the late afternoon or evening. He took the child home and was warmly thanked by the parents and even offered coffee. When he suggested notifying the police that the child was safe, the family declined saying the police had not been notified. More recently, Idris claims, that Anat Cohen allegedly sent a group of settlers (not clear if she came with them) to his house where they broke in, causing damage not only to property but to Idris, braking his teeth. Apparently the incident was written up in Ha'aretz.
Leaving the cemetery we make for Meidan Abed where the Gutnick center has meanwhile opened its doors for the day and loud Klesmer music blares across the square. The Border police are stopping men and detaining them for ID checks but the detention is brief - some 8 or 10 men during our 20 minute stay.
As we leave town we notice a group of TIPH officers looking out over H1 opposite the House of Conflict, we stop to share their view and see a group of some 20 or more settlers heading for H1 accompanied by a van with loudspeakers blaring Purim songs. After some15 minutes we see the van returning to H2 and the music stops, mercifully. the TIPH men would like to ignore us but fortunately one of them is an old acquaintance, a Swede of Palestinian originand friendly handshakes all round.