Hebron, South Hebron Hills, Sun 20.1.13, Afternoon
Translator: Charles K.
We decided to leave at two in the afternoon since the schoolchildren were still on winter vacation.
Heavy traffic, also of Israeli cars, but mostly Palestinian. Here and there people are walking on the roadside. A little farther on we see agricultural fields that have been very well taken care of. We see no military presence anywhere. Blue skies above, the sun warm and pleasant…almost ideal.
Election posters of national religious parties at the entrance to Hebron, as well as around the entrance and parking area of the Cave of the Patriarchs. Later we learn that the Hebronites think they’ll win a large majority. The Ja’abri kids are playing ball next to Beit Hameriva-Hashalom and wave to us.
Israeli tourists get off buses at the Cave of the Patriarchs plaza. The checkpoints are very quiet, only bored soldiers.
We go up to Tel Rumeida and take a tour of the “no man’s land” between H1 and H2. Friendly children on the winding path say hello and each introduces himself.
In Beit Hashoter, where Michael used to live and which today serves as a local, well-maintained sports and community center we meet A., the brother of an old acquaintance. He came home to Hebron after years abroad attending university. But today, five months on, he’s unemployed and worried. A. invites us to sit in his courtyard and talk while his friend prepares tea. He asks us apprehensively what will happen, since “Bibi will win and his number three, Baruch Marzel, will run Israel.” We reassure him and ourselves that “Bibi may not win and Baruch Marzel is far from being number three and, God willing, let’s hope he won’t succeed at all.” At least one hope was realized. He also refers to the growing despair and anger in Hebron and thinks that Hamas will benefit greatly from it. “Isn’t that what Bibi wants?” We had nothing reassuring to respond to that.
On our way back we heard in the local grocery store about two children detained by a policeman at a checkpoint for carrying a cooking gas canister. Residents of Tel Rumeida are allowed to obtain cooking gas in only one way: to carry the canister themselves or with a hand-cart. They’re not allowed to use a vehicle. Not to Tel Rumeida, located on a hill, the road to it from the checkpoint steep and difficult for anyone, particularly with a full canister. The frightened children, who didn’t have a phone to call anyone they knew, waited until someone from the military unit bothered (thank you) to call a former local member of B’Tselem who came down to the checkpoint, “identified” the children and they went up to Tel Rumeida with their merchandise. He then came back down to say hello and we were happy to meet a delightful old acquaintance and just stand outside the grocery to chat.