South Hebron Hills, Sun 20.3.11, Morning
Translator: Charles K.
It was a last-minute decision to go today, to meet Hammad from UNRWA and visit Huda in the kindergarten. That’s why we took our car to Umm-el-Hir, where we met Hammad. We left the car in Hakhaj’s care and drove in Hammad’s jeep to Hashem-al-Daraj (“the nose of the steps”).
It looks as if more caravans have been added to the Avigail outpost!
Umm-el-Hir: We watched a “movie” in Hakhaj’s tent – a member of his family filmed the large confrontation that occurred here yesterday (Saturday[!!]), between settlers from Ma’on (or Havvat Ma’on or Hurshat Ma’on) and residents of Tuwwani. The settlers came down to the village (you clearly see they’re inside the village), there was hitting, stone throwing. The army came, and despite the presence of activists and volunteers, two village residents were arrested. One resident was badly beaten, couldn’t rise, and was taken to the hospital. We intended to stop at Tuwwani on our way back, but it was already too late. It may be worth stopping there during a future shift, to hear the whole story.
Hammad says that since the murder (of Jewish family, trans.) in Itamar there are at least four incidents with settlers per day. Yesterday, Saturday, there was also an incident in Sussiya: settlers and their flocks entered an area recognized as Palestinian. The army arrived, sent them all away and declared the area (Palestinian!!) "closed military area".
Another incident: The Bweira neighborhood, north of Giv’at Hakharsina in Hebron. Settlers attacked a father and his two children, damaging their car. All three were injured.
The kindergarten in Hisham-el-Daraj
We came to finalize the renovation plans, in particular to settle on the gradual stages of construction in order not to interrupt the kindergarten’s operation and ensure that the most urgent renovations be carried out first, and each stage completed (unlike the present structure which was left without a roof, only one of corrugated metal). UNRWA has provided initial building materials. The kindergarten may move next door during construction.
The kindergarten has more children now (22) than there were when we visited last, but still fewer than usual. There are more tables (Hammad bought them in Hebron after we informed him this was requested by Huda), but less floor space. We agreed that Hammad will buy some additional essentials immediately (e.g. a cupboard with doors) in Hebron.
We also discussed the problem of water. If there will be a toilet (without running water; the water will come from a tank on the roof, and there will be a septic tank), funding will have to be provided to pay for the water. The Palestinian Authority supports only the school, while Israel does not provide anything (recall: this is in Area C). UNRWA assists in construction but not in upkeep or staff.
We gave Huda her March salary. We make sure to pay her each month or she won’t be able to keep working. When the kindergarten is operating fully, Huda employs a helper.
We pay her salary from donations to the British Shalom-Salaam Trust and from members of Machsom Watch. In general, it’s clear that we must first invest in people, otherwise there simply won’t be a kindergarten.