Hebron, South Hebron Hills, Tue 8.1.13, Morning
Because of the weather we left Beersheva at 7:30, Meitar checkpoint saw just a few stragglers still crossing.
fairly quiet, a few trucks the odd private and army vehicle.
At the entrance to Kiryat Arba, (the settler's checkpoint) a hostile guard demands ID's and informs M that he won't let him pass because he is an Arab. M gives him a piece of his mind and after a cursory check of the vehicle the surprised guard slams the door hard and lets us go. We've rarely seen M lose his cool, but it was right on the mark this time.
deserted except for children making their way to school on foot in the rain. After an explanation that this demonstrates the lack of public transport and/or the prohibition of Palestinian vehicles in the city, several willingly pose for photographs (to be forwarded separately).
Opposite the upper entrance to the Worshippers' Alley, a platoon(?) of soldiers in full battle gear, several jeeps and an armed personnel carrier are hanging out. We brave the rain and cold to ask what occasion this marks and to our surprise the soldiers are all smiles and tell us that its an exercise and why aren't we staying indoors in the warm.
A small boy collecting sacks in a nearby store-room seems unperturbed by this military presence, until we ask after his well-being (n Arabic(, when the poor child becomes quite alarmed! The soldiers disperse and we continue our round of the ghost town, all the checkpoints are empty, except for the un-staffed blockades.
The flooded streets reported yesterday are now clear. We note that the separation fence near the Border Police post at the Machpela Cave which yesterday had an opening wide enough for a human being, a pram or a wheelchair, has now been closed with bright yellow blocks of concrete.
deserted, near the illegal outpost of Avigail there seems to be some building going on near the road. Beersheva is dry but cold. Home sweet home.