Hebron, Sansana (Meitar Crossing), South Hebron Hills
Before leaving this morning both of us read the following story in [Israeli daily] Ha’aretz:
“Yesterday (Sunday) the government approved the new criteria established by Finance Minister Yair Lapid for localities on the periphery entitled to receive tax benefits. An unofficial review by government sources indicates that the new criteria will apply to 35 isolated settlements not part of settlement blocs and will go into effect in 2015. The size of the benefits residents of these localities will receive will be determined only during the formulation of the next government budget. According to the map drawn up by government sources, most of the settlements to be included in the list are located in the Jordan Valley and the Southern Hebron Hills. Some already receive tax benefits. The settlements include: Avnat, Adora, Almog, Argaman, Eshkolot, Beit Ha’arava, Gilgal, Vered Yericho, Haggai, Hemdat, Teneh, Yafit, Carmel, Mehola, Ma’on, Metzudat Yehuda, Mitzpeh Shalem, Masu’a, Maskiyout, Negohot, Niran, Na’ama, Nativ Ha’gdud, Susya, Othniel, P’nei Haver, Fatza’el, Kalia, Kiryat Arba, Ro’i, Rotem, Shdemot Mehola, Sham’a, Tomer and Telem.
All the settlements located in the interior of the West Bank appear in bold face; we see them on almost each one of our shifts… That's just how “peace loving” a country we are.
Galit lives in Arad, which lost its tax benefits…
Six buses with relatives of inmates in Israeli prisons. Some of the laborers coming through holes in the fence (without permits) obtain rides at the shuttle stop on the Israeli side; they’ll get the drivers in trouble if they’re stopped at a police checkpoint in Israel. The ride to work from the shuttle stop is much simpler and cheaper, which is why the Palestinians prefer it.
The permanent buildings are under construction at Mitzpeh Asahel. Yoknat’s face wears a broad smile – she’ll also benefit from tax breaks. Soldiers in a jeep near Susya eat a late breakfast.
In Hebron a Palestinian tells us he has a house near the pillbox; he lives there half the week and in Hebron the other half. Yesterday, when he came to the house near the pillbox, he saw it had been broken into and its contents damaged. Nothing had been stolen but everything inside had been destroyed. He has no camera so he didn’t take photographs. He thinks settlers, not Palestinians, did it, because nothing had been stolen. But they left no graffiti so it’s hard to know exactly what happened. He didn’t want to go to the police… He just told us, despairingly, as if there was something we could do with the information besides including it in our report.
Curve 160 – A Palestinian boy with a bicycle is detained. We wait for him to be released and then Mrs. Anat Cohen arrives. She parks next to M., our driver, starts talking to him. TIP police are at the checkpoint; they get out of their vehicle and begin photographing because I asked them to, and then the usual performance begins. She photographs me, I photograph her; when she sees that the TIP people are also taking her picture she calms down (but not before cursing M. and me) and drives off to speak to the Border Police soldiers. Who had, meanwhile, released the boy they’d detained. We drove off.
The Tel Rumeida excavation continues; no soldiers guard the diggers. They’ve prepared an alternate route for Palestinian pedestrians – a narrow passage between two fences.
Palestinians are being detained at the Pharmacy checkpoint – for no more than 10 minutes, but the harassment is embarrassing… A Border Police soldier asks us to move to the other side of the concrete barriers. He tells us we can stay as long as we choose but that he’ll detain people to give us something to do… We move away.
In the Hebron streets, in the H2 area, the IDF has installed many cameras on the rooftops. We watch a military pickup truck which has a sign reading “Telecommunications unit – Yehuda Brigade.”
Today they’re taking care of the cameras. And entering Palestinian homes without asking permission.
The family we saw said that it’s very disruptive of their life. Women aren’t allowed to be alone with the soldiers, who went up to the roof while a woman was hanging laundry… They don’t pay someone for the shameless use of their roof. At least they pay for the electricity, which doesn’t come from the Palestinian Authority but through separate wires… Today they took care of five cameras…
But still, my friend, everything’s still normal… Yes, my friend, there’s nothing new…