Hebron, South Hebron Hills, Mon 10.12.12, Morning
Translator: Charles K.
Southern Hebron Hills
We drove to Hebron on Highway 317 to see the demolished mosque at Umm Faqra. We took the road up to Mitzpeh Aviga’il, where there are also signs of growth and development.
A convoy of Border Police vehicles descends toward us. “Stop,” they order us. “We have to check who you are.”
They speak aggressively, determinedly carrying out their mission, request the ID of M., our driver. “Take ours also” we demand, as usual. “No problem, we’ll check your IDs also.”
“Could you not yell?,” we ask. “Address us quietly.”
“OK, OK,” they reply, lowering the volume, making an effort.
We can make such a request, but our driver is angry because he sees, hears and feels exactly the tone of voice saved for someone who isn’t Jewish.
They ask us to return to the main road until they complete their check. They say we’re blocking the road [their photos are on our Facebook page; Hagit took them]. A few minutes pass, they return our IDs and drive off.
We now drive up to Umm Faqra, located on the southern slopes of the Ma’on settlement. Ma’on is continually growing and expanding but its Palestinian neighbors aren’t entitled to anything – neither an outline building plan nor construction permits.
About two weeks ago the mosque built by the residents, on the ruins of a mosque demolished a year ago, was demolished.
The residents show us the “villa” being built by one of the villagers. It’s a small, two-room brick building, already inhabited. The man says he’s already received a stop-work order. This windswept area is freezing cold at night. How do they manage with small children? He also planted almond saplings next to the house. The newly-sprouted crocuses paint the earth pink. They want us to take photographs and hope that will help. So do we.
A military Hammer drives somewhere on the hills, “looking for people illegally in Israel.” This time the vehicle turned off, didn’t enter the village but continued toward a-Tawwani on the other side of the hill where the settlers of Ma’on and Ma’on farm live.
How much evil is it possible to see in half an hour?
Back to the road to Hebron. An observation balloon overhead.
Hebron is quiet, the children in school. The settlers’ children are on vacation, not yet hanging around outside.
A squad of soldiers patrols only Shuhada Street this time. A large group of soldiers from some course stand at the entrance to the Tarpa”t museum. They’re here for a history lesson.
They’ll never be brought to meet Palestinian residents of Hebron. They’ll only hear about them in one context.
Everything’s as usual at the checkpoints.
The patrol has reached the stand where settlers offer them coffee and donuts.