Hebron, Sansana (Meitar Crossing), South Hebron Hills, Tarqumiya, Mon 3.9.12, Morning
Translator: Charles K.
At 06:40 there are no laborers on the Palestinian side of the crossing. Many are waiting for transportation on the Israeli side. It should be clear that Israel is also responsible for the Palestinian side because it’s in Area C according to the Oslo accords. The Israeli army is sovereign in this occupied territory.
An army jeep observes what’s happening at Samu’a. There’s almost no traffic on this road, but Big Brother is watching. The hill opposite Samu’a is covered with blossoming sea squills. Has autumn arrived?
People are still praying in the synagogue as we drive past the illegal outpost below Giv’at Ha’Avot. Responsibility for both the Pharmacy checkpoint and the one at Curve 160 was transferred this week from the Border Police to the Naha”l brigade. Soldiers still sit on the roof of the house at the junction of the worshippers route.
A sewer pipe is being laid on the Tzion route. The workers are Palestinians; the funding comes from the Kiryat Arba local council. The Palestinians have permits to work in the settlements.
Today children pass through all the checkpoints on their way to school without having their satchels inspected. TIP police observe at all the checkpoints. One even speaks fluent Arabic and has friendly discussions with the children.
At the Tel Rumeida checkpoint the teachers are allowed to cross through the side entrance without going through the magnemometer. I hope that continues, because it always leads to an argument.
A little girl from the family living just past the checkpoint gets stuck in the revolving gate at the Pharmacy checkpoint; her weeping is heartrending. I run over and pick her up. The soldiers, who’d formerly asked me not to come near, don’t stop me; “heartbreaking,” one of them mutters. Her mother comes down; we see that the girl was only very frightened, but not hurt. The family gives me a cup of tea and the fear passes. An old man who wants to cross, bypassing the checkpoint without being inspected by the soldiers, has a short discussion with them. The soldiers don’t prevent me from standing beside him quietly. I recognize him from past visits; once again, the heart-wrenching tale of the four shops he once had next to the checkpoint, and today nothing remains. The pleasant TIP soldier continues to listen to him. Classes have already begun in the Al Ibrahimiyya school, even though the renovations haven’t been completed.
Peace activists also stand at all the checkpoints.
Muhammad, from the grocery in Idna, tells us that the soldiers come down from the pillbox every afternoon. He says, grinning, that it’s so they won’t fall asleep. He shows us where they leave the plastic barriers from the checkpoint near his shop. Muhammad is a member of the group of bereaved families; he asks whether I’ve seen Ruby Damalin’s film – After Peace… We were both moved.
We get here at a quarter of nine in the morning. Tzion, the checkpoint manager, says that every day 4000 laborers come through here by 07:20, and by the time we arrived 250 vehicles had also been inspected.
When we arrive we’re asked where we came from. Kiryat Arba, we reply. They take our IDs and tell us to wait for the vehicle inspection. Five cars cross without being inspected while we wait. Why!? Because our driver is Arab, unlike those in the other cars, even though they all have Israeli IDs. Have we already mentioned racism? There are 15 cars in the vehicle inspection line with us, and 13 staff. The procedure is as follows: the driver and passengers take all their belongings to the scanner, put them through and move to the shed where they wait for the underside of the car to be inspected with a mirror and for the dog handlers. It can take up to an hour. Today one of the drivers is a young woman from Kafr Qassem who went to Hebron to return the wedding dress she had rented for her wedding. They’re waiting for her; she’s afraid to go through alone and doesn’t stop crying. Since I’m the only other woman there she was glad to receive my help; I intervened to ask that they inspect her more quickly. It turned out that the bottleneck was a shortage of dogs, who were tired from the morning’s inspections. Tzion, the checkpoint manager, approached me to again explain the reason. I wonder aloud: If the settlers were required to undergo that inspection every day, would the same thing happen? He admitted that he already knows all the drivers, and certainly know us, so why are things like this? The answer lies with the lord of injustice and the crossings unit.
But Justice Levy says there’s no occupation.