Hebron, Sansana (Meitar Crossing), South Hebron Hills
06:15 At the Meitar crossing we met the international volunteers; they’ve been at the checkpoint since 03:50. It was already open. Palestinians told them it had opened at 03:30, which made them all happy. Everyone reports that people are going through quickly; 5000 had crossed by now. People continued arriving while we were present; there are no lines.
We left and drove towards Othniel at 06:34.
Southern Hebron Hills
06:52 Dura-al Fawwar junction: A flying checkpoint, soldiers inspecting IDs. Since it’s rush hour, there’s always a line of 10-12 cars.
The observation balloon floats over Beit Haggai.
The southern entrance to Hebron is open; there are no soldiers at the checkpoint.
The Tel Rumeida excavation has been expanded; an additional area has been fenced. We peeked in. The archaeologist digging there on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, David Ben Shlomo (he confirmed he’s the son of Prof. Ben Shlomo, from the department of Jewish Thought), explained pleasantly that there are places where the excavation has reached bedrock, others where they’ve reached Bronze Age strata (the end of the period of Israelite kingship – approximately the time of Hezekiah) which is the period to which the walls of ancient Hebron uncovered in 1999 in Tel Rumeida are dated, and also a typical Israelite house, and even an earlier Bronze Age period. He has no idea what will happen to the area after the excavation is over.
Farther south along the ridge (the entrance to the path leading to Michael’s house) are the same signs in Arabic on the fence. They’ll also dig there. They’re indifferent to the restrictions caused to the movement of Palestinians who live there. In fact, the buildings for the archaeological dig have already been erected.
At 07:30, when we were at the Pharmacy junction, we heard a “BOOM;” the international volunteers telephoned to tell us soldiers had fired a tear gas grenade at children. We drove down to Curve 160 to find out what happened. Border Police soldiers refused to talk to us; they referred us to the Border Police spokesperson.
A charming, very Jewish graffiti on the concrete barrier at Curve 160 (which the international volunteers call “Checkpoint 29”). The commander of the Border Police situation room is on site. He describes himself as “in charge of all checkpoints in the expanded area around the Cave of the Patriarchs.” He referred us to the Border Police spokesperson for information about the incident. But one of the soldiers sent me to see swastikas in the lane leading off from the road a little farther on. The swastikas are drawn backward. The soldiers are looking for Nazis in order to justify their wrath at the town’s Palestinian residents. I think the Palestinians know that it’s an anti-Jewish symbol, but don’t know much more than that. As far as they’re concerned, it’s no more than a symbol of political protest.
Another flying checkpoint was erected next to the Yossi Shok memorial.