Hebron, Tue 13.11.12, Morning
Observers: Hagit B, Yehudit K (reporting), M. at the wheel
We set off at 7:30 am so that the Meitar checkpoint was quiet. On Route 60 an access road is being built to the settlement/outpost of Eshtamoa of the eastern ridge and there is the skeleton of a temporary structure just beside the new pathway. The rest of the road is as usual until we hit the Dura/El Fuwar crossroads where three soldiers are stopping cars at the entrance to Dura. And here we found just the tiniest crack in the wall of occupation, which is no longer an occupation but something more far reaching. The following is a full, but not literal, account of our encounter. But first, some information: in the West Bank there is a lively trade in Israeli vehicles, purchased (or stolen) for their spare parts. The army has a procedure of stopping all cars with Israeli licence plates that are driven by Palestinians. The rationale for this is that the Palestinian in the supposedly Israeli car can, despite his green ID and lack of permit, drive unchecked into Israel, this is of course nonsense since such a driver would be stopped, checked and returned from whence he came by the checkpoint personnel. While detained, the car's papers are checked to ensure that it is not stolen. One way and another, the Palestinians are detained, sometimes harrassed and their journey to the salvage yard and ready cash, delayed.
We were surprised to be greeted by the commander of the patrol at Dura, who readily gave us information: a patrol of reservists of the Kfir Unit and yes, this was policing, not soldiery but the job had to be done. Yes, he frequently thought about how the Palestinians must be feeling about their oppression, but he also thought a lot about the Israeli side, having attended so many funerals of friends killed in terror attacks (statistically more people are killed in road accidents or murdered by their spouses each year!) He didn't think there could be a simple solution to the conflict but as a religious man he believes in the Jewish right to all the land, even if this is not a rational belief. He suggested that Israel should declare sovereignty over "Judea and Samaria" (de facto, it has already) but the Palestinians should get a 'different kind of citizenship'. He admitted being uncomfortable with this but did not retract. The interesting thing about this encounter was that despite the fact that our soldier was juggling his radio equipment trying to speed up the check, he followed us around the checkpoint in order to continue the conversation, without paying any heed to passing cars nor to an accident further up the road that required three ambulances to evacuate the wounded. As we were leaving we agreed that there might be a point in some kind of dialogue between settlers and Leftwingers (although I doubt either side will change its views much) and also blurted out that on these patrols he only checked two cars, in order to put a 'v' beside his list of tasks. It was clear that hear was a thinking person, even if he couldn't take his doubts to a logical conclusion.
We proceeded to Hebron and visited the apartheid Worshipper's Alley at Wadi Nasarah where the route is marked out by soe hideously ugly planter, a broad road for the Jews and a rough path for the Palestinians. We visited the Daan family and were shown a hole in the garden wall where settlers throw rubbish, stones and sometimes shoot (?) and we also were shown the broken glass on one of the windows. A circuit of Hebron, including a stroll to the well (David's well?) proved once again: a dead city.
On the way back at the entrance to Dahariyeh another patrol of mliuimnikim (this time not forthcoming at all) had stopped a man who forget his ID. In spite of the fact that he lived close by, abd he was forced to send for a family ember to bring it. A car load of passengers was detained and thoroughly searched, including luggage, and one passenger apparently was suspected of something. Hagit gave her phone no as we could wait no longer to find out their fate.
Down here in the south it's never a dull moment!
...Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world..
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and every where
The ceremony of innocence is drowned.
The best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity...
From Second Coming W B Yeats