Hebron, South Hebron Hills, Tarqumiya, Tue 11.9.12, Morning
Translated by Naomi Gal
We started the shift in Tarqumya, where last week, as reported by Hagit on September 3, 2012, the passing through the checkpoint was annoying due to security guards’ conduct. .
Upset and angry, our driver forgot his license there, so we came back to find it.
The place was empty and we found the missing license. This time around the soldiers’ behavior was fair.
South Hebron Hills - Route 35, Route 60
All the way to Hebron there are no signs of the tension we’ll encounter in town later.
In Beit Anun girls are attempting to cross the busy road in order to get to school on the other side.
An Invisible teacher’s voice over a mike urges the girls to hurry up and get there on time, the girls are running. The time is 7:30. A Military vehicle is stationed nearby and Hagit expresses a naïve hope that maybe they are here to secure the dangerous passage of the girls.
Unfortunately the soldiers are not there to safe guard the girls and neither are the Palestinians.
There is no bridge across the road for pedestrians’ safety, as they would have built if this was a Jewish community. Jews’ cars are racing right there and Palestinians are not that careful either, although large groups of girls are crossing the road every morning.
So we waited until the last students crossed this busy, frightening road, Route 60.
The unusual tension can be felt already at the entrance to the city. Many vehicles for dispersing protests are parked around the Cave of the Patriarchs. The shops are closed.
On Curve 160 there are paratroopers, not the usual border police. We'll get back to them.
Checkpoint Tarpat and Shuhada Street
It seems they added more guard posts on the way leading to Shuhada Street.
Due to what we heard on the news last night we ask the soldiers about the situation. They talk about Molotov cocktails that were thrown in recent days. There are soldiers on the market’s roofs. There are soldiers everywhere on Shuhada Street.
We reached Trp”t checkpoint. The road is filled with stones, lemons and the remains of measures that were taken to disperse the protesters – something we have never seen before. It seems that a particularly harsh event had taken place here.
The zone’s commander we already know is sitting bleary-eyed with his soldiers at the bottom of Tel Rumeida. We approach them wanting to know what went on. He recognizes us and suggests we follow him to the other side of the metal detector in H1.
There we find a real battlefield; the road is strewn with stones, lemons, potatoes, among them the remains of tear gas grenades in quantities that leave no room for doubt.
The soldiers say that like in all cities in the West Bank there were demonstrations against the Palestinian Government, and especially against Salam Fayyad. From morning till late at night they kept throwing whatever they could find.
The IDF is in Hebron, in charge of peace and security, and this is where the soldiers became lightning-rods and got their “share”. In such a situation it’s easy for the local leadership to divert all the rage at the soldiers and this is what happened.
The soldiers point at the many vegetables that were thrown and say: they demonstrated against the cost of living. Isn’t a shame to waste so many lemons?
The devoted and polite officer does not agree with us that they should not be there in the first place. He is convinced that if the IDF would not be there, then these kinds of events will take place in Israel.
He, too, tells about soldiers being attacked two days ago and the throwing of a Molotov cocktail.
We, who saw aplenty in this impossible city, never saw anything like that.
We went back to curve 160 because last week we heard that little girls who were passing on the carousel were injured when their feet got caught, commotion ensued and an army medic treated them. The soldiers knew nothing about it, were not there when it happened and did not encounter such cases themselves.
When we suggest they should lift the gate in the morning and at noon, when small kids are on their way to school, so that they won’t get entangled in the carousel, they say they have no authority to make decisions and that such a request should be addressed to an officer who is at least a Colonel. Guy Hazut, who was the Territorial Brigade Commander, left, and we still haven’t met the new one, so we called Hannah in Ramat Gan and agreed that she would try to do something about it.
On second thought, I do not understand why they put obstacles such as the carousel. The yellow gate is there to monitor the passage of cars from Jabal Johar toward Zion Route that are on the way to neighborhoods around the Cave of the Patriarchs (of course, we do not justify the existence of the gate but you could find a 'rational' explanation for its existence in Hebron’s weird logic).
But why make it difficult for the few people who pass by and for kids on their way to school? Again a question that’s blowing in the wind.
According to “B'tselem” activist who was there, the soldiers (paratroopers) who joined the Nahal soldiers are more humane than the border policemen that were there during the last two years, since this curve turned into a checkpoint.
Coming back, we met people from Dhahariya zone who told us about a tough day of outrageous demonstrations involving burning tires, etc. There is a lot of anger over the bad economy and the powerless leadership that lacks authority, and is only concerned by its own needs. If you listened carefully you could detect that there might be others responsible for this situation.