Sansana (Meitar Crossing), South Hebron Hills, Tue 16.7.13, Morning
Translator: Charles K.
Everything’s sleepy and quiet all along the way during these late morning hours.
When we reached the entrance to Kiryat Arba, Netanya told us about unusual activity she saw before the entrance, on her way from Jerusalem. And in fact, a few hundred meters from the turn from Highway 60 to Kiryat Arba, going toward Jerusalem, we see many vehicles belonging to the police, the Civil Administration and settlement security coordinators parked on the right side of the road. So we stopped and got out to see what was going on. They said they were all gathered by the roadside because they discovered pipes laid by water thieves that greatly reduced the water pressure in Kiryat Arba, which barely had water last week.
The settlers signal our arrival to the police; the officer, their obedient soldier, rushes toward us and hurriedly asks M., our driver, for license and registration. He claims he’s forbidden to park that way, and will get a ticket.
Our argument that many civilian vehicles were parked there, and that we’ll move the car, didn’t help. “All the vehicles,” he says, “have been specially permitted to park by the police.” Our driver gets annoyed, says he saw the settlers instructing the police how to treat us because they saw where we were from and that he was Arab; it’s simply racism. The police officer explains to me that there was a violation and he has to issue a ticket. All my efforts to get him to let us off were fruitless. “I would have let you off,” he said, “if the driver hadn’t been insubordinate.” And anyway, “3000 tickets a year are issued here, half to Jews, so how can you say we discriminate. They have it very good here; they should see what’s happening in Arab countries.” “OK,” I said, “why don’t you masquerade as an Arab and travel around like that for a month, then come back and tell us there’s no racism and how good it is to be an Arab here.” He grins shamefacedly and says he can’t cancel the ticket because his colleague already sent the information by computer.
Our driver wants to go to court, not pay the ticket, and risk getting a large number of points that will endanger his livelihood. We’ll testify, of course, and hope things end well.
The lords of the land are also the lords of the army and the police.
In Hebron the apartheid continues as usual and everything is quiet.
When we returned through the Meitar checkpoint a new, young, energetic female employee asks us to go to the security inspection area. “Ma’am, whatever you want to ask, do it there,” she says when I express my surprise.
So we went to the inspection area and I protest again and call Motti, the checkpoint manager. He didn’t answer, but that must have done the job. The embarrassed affable shift manager arrived, explained that he knows us, and that you just have to talk to me and everything will be ok. He goes to get our ID cards from the “diligent” gatekeeper, and releases us. Our driver says he saw him reprimand the employee who suddenly decided to detain us.
Let’s hope this was a one-time incident and not a sign of new directives.