Hebron, Sun 6.5.12, Morning
Translator: Charles K.
We saw detainees at the Tarpa”t checkpoint, before the road up to Tel Rumeida. We stopped the car and got out. Muhammad couldn’t park before the curve so he continued up the road. A soldier ordered him to stop for inspection. He stopped next to the grocery, a few meters from where the soldier had told him to stop, in order not to park on the slope where it was dangerous. While we, down at the checkpoint, watched bored Kfir soldiers sending derogatory looks at the people going through the scanner. One old man was allowed through the wicket, as were a few teachers. We were amazed at how well a volunteer soldier from Chicago spoke Hebrew. He told us about his plans after he’s released and we briefly told him about what we were doing here. TIPH observers were watching. One soldier was clearly unhappy at the conversation, hinting he shouldn’t talk to us: “My mother also is against women like you.” After a short time we called Muhammad to come down.
When we were about to get in the car, the soldier and his commander decided to detain Muhammad because he hadn’t stopped exactly where the soldier higher up had told him to. “You refused an order! That’s a violation and I’m detaining you. Give me your ID and come with me.” We, of course, insisted that if he’s checking Muhammad’s ID, he must also check ours, and if he’s detaining Muhammad, we’re together. He replied that he’s in fact detaining us, but separately. “You stand over on the side, because I want to separate you and interrogate each one individually.” People began to gather around, including Anat Cohen, of course, who blocked the road and as part of her usual repertoire stood off to the side with one of the soldiers.
Our IDs were taken. We demanded that the soldier call the police. After a while, when he apparently hadn’t called the police, we called. They arrived without delay and soon told us to take the car to the Cave of the Patriarchs police station. Border Police soldiers stopped us on the way but they apparently were aware of the incident. The police officers, politely and with great understanding, returned our IDs. We breathed more easily.
Not us. Muhammad said he understands some soldiers are racist, but what surprised him was that not one of the soldiers objected to what was happening. He was shocked by the implicit assumption about how Arabs should be treated. And when we were asked whether we were Jewish (traitors), he called out: “I’m a proud Moslem.”
Good for him.