Hebron, Sansana (Meitar Crossing), South Hebron Hills
7:00 All laborers have already crossed to the Israeli side and are waiting for their rides.
The usual morning routine on Highway 60; light traffic, pupils on their way to school and the familiar observation balloon in the sky above Beit Haggai.
Soldiers at the Dura al Fawwar junction have come down from the pillbox and are stopping drivers leaving Dura.
They’re not looking for anything in particular; it’s just a tiresome show of force [cf. video].
The city is quiet.
Cars wait at the roadblock next to Beit Hameriva for people coming from H2 to H1, operating in the “back-to-back” method – for people.
Because this area has been transformed into an “army base,” only approved vehicles may drive into the city of Hebron from here: Those fortunate enough to live near the area Jews have decided belongs to them, walk to the checkpoint where a car awaits them on the other side. The routine seems normal enough to Hebron’s Jewish residents. [A photo Natanya took will be sent separately.]
All checkpoints and roadblocks operate normally, detaining people for only a few minutes and then releasing them.
Many Nahal soldiers wander around Gross Square.
The excavation area has grown to include the area on the other side of the path to Abu Heikhal’s house.
The representative of the Antiquities Authority in charge of the excavation welcomes us merrily. He tells us how pleased he is to be digging; he’d like to dig throughout the country.
The present and future don’t interest him, he says, only the past. He tells us they’ve found abundant potsherds and coins from every period – from the Chalcolithic through the Hashmonaim, and later.
“What will you do with this area when you’re finished?,” I ask. “I hope they’ll enlarge the museum here in Tel Rumeida. Take a look at the wonderful finds displayed there.” “Why here, exactly?,” I ask. “I dig everywhere; I’m happy to uncover the past everywhere, not only here. But here we find cultures 6500 years old.”
The happy excavator’s enthusiasm for the past continues. They’ve just brought him a metal detector which makes encouraging noises. They’ve found a nail.
“You understand – I don’t care about the present.”
A settler helping him, who two weeks ago referred to us as “aunties” and mocked our presence here, works in silence, doesn’t dare join the conversation today.
Near Dahariyya we met people Sylvia and Chaya are trying to help – with no success yet. They give us additional documents. Perhaps in the future they’ll join the 70% who regain their work permits after endless, unnecessary complications.
The enlightened occupation continues.