Hebron, Sansana (Meitar Crossing), South Hebron Hills, Mon 21.1.13, Morning
Translator: Charles K.
All the laborers have crossed. Four buses wait for relatives of prisoners.
Election posters for national-religious parties on every wall and fence in Hebron and all along the way.
Everything’s as usual. We visited the renovated neighborhood opposite the Cave of the Patriarchs (see photo on top, below), around which the apartheid fence is rising on behalf of the Worshippers route.
The houses are lovely, the alleys like those in Old Jaffa. The renovations were carried out by Spanish organizations. But this is area H2, which the Palestinian Authority doesn’t take care of and which the Civil Authority is, of course, neglecting. The stench of urine, garbage tossed everywhere and a feeling of no man’s land surrounding us. The sign reads “Grenada Plaza.” It could look like Grenada, but it doesn’t.
Routine at all the checkpoints. A calm soldier at Curve 160 talks with passers-by. A water pipe burst and they’re all waiting for someone to repair it. Many children carrying pails are on their way to the mosque to get their daily soup.
We were told about demolition of homes in the Southern Hebron Hills, so we drove there.
Southern Hebron Hills
We turned off Highway 356 to the area of Dir’at and from there to a place called Huwwara or, more exactly, “Sha’ab al Mr’ar.” Someone from Dir’at helped us find it. Many people standing around the well and building that were demolished this morning. A building demolished last week is nearby. A UN vehicle arrives a few minutes after us.
This is Area C, remember. People show us their applications for building permits. None were approved. Although it’s their land, it’s too close to the Ma’on settlement; P'nei Hever is visible from a distance.
Like their Jewish neighbors, they’re holding on to the land and trying to create something there, build one house, then another. But they’ll never receive building permits and the state of Israel will embitter their lives to establish more settlements.
“How can you live this way?” a man asks us.
“It’s the Israelis,” he says.
“We’re also Israeiis,” we say, “We came to support you and are ashamed of what our government does.”
“We’ll write about it,” we promise, “and about how strongly we oppose what’s happening here.”
“Thank you very much,” they say.
We also drove to the Ma’on area because they’d been told that the rubble had been brought there.
Many reservists and police at the entrance to the locality checking detainees and their vehicle. No, they didn’t see buildings demolished, they arrived later.
Shortly before we came they’d set up a flying checkpoint and stopped a vehicle and its passengers. They felt something was wrong and called the police to investigate. The reservists express understanding for what we’re doing.
“But I prefer that we’re here and do the job that someone has to do,” one of them says.
“You’re different from other soldiers,” I say.
“Certainly, I make sure to behave respectfully and fairly to those I have to inspect,” he replies.
“Why do you have to do it?,” we ask.
“We’re a democracy,” they say.
“Is this democratic?” I ask.
“We’re a country of laws,” they reply.
“We’re a country of laws, but what about justice and morality?” I ask.
They nod and say something about the difference between their personal opinions and their obligations as law-abiding citizens.
Will we have this endless, pointless argument again? No.
So we drove home.