Hebron and South Hebron Hills
9:00 Meitar Crossing – empty of workers, the shed has already been cleaned and anyone who arrives goes directly for a security clearance and quickly exits. In the parking area, there is only one food stall with the remains of food thrown on the ground.
We (also Mira B) met with Hamed, who is part of the Village Group and also works for UNRWA, to discuss our idea of expanding our preschool art, music, social skills activities at Hashem el-Daraj to other preschools in the Southern Hebron Hills. Mira and Judy led the discussion. It was decided:
a. To cease our activities with Huda at the Hashem el-Daraj preschool because she has shown little if any interest in building on our work with her or continuing the activities between our visits. If a new teacher comes to the preschool, our decision will be reconsidered.
b. An alternative preschool is located at Tuwani, and according to Hamed, the preschool teacher is very interested in such activities. He is not sure of the situation at Zif but will check.
c. We mentioned that we would like to produce an illustrated workbook in Arabic of our activities. Hamed is ready to assist with its printing, on the condition that the workbook is in a format that can be printed. Figures need to be added to the text in order to illustrate the step-by-step sequence of each stage of the art activities. The workbook should also include pictures or illustrations of completed art projects; pictures can be taken from the albums Judy created.
After the meeting, we visited the preschool in Tuwani and met the preschool teacher Intisar.
The preschool is a new building built for that purpose (see picture) although the interior gives the impression that it was originally built for another purpose and had been converted into a preschool. The play/class rooms are smaller than one would expect in a preschool. To date, there is almost no equipment – furniture, toys, other preschool materials. There is a large covered sandbox but no outdoor play equipment. There is the beginning of a garden. The preschool building was completed in June, and according to the preschool teacher, it has just opened and the children are there from 8:00-11:00.
International activists, including a woman from Ramallah and another from Bethlehem, were using the preschool for their Playback rehearsals. Intisar and several older children were participating in the rehearsal. We took Intisar’s telephone number so we could arrange a further meeting with her late next month to continue our discussion about working together.
Routes 317 and 60 were empty of traffic; the fields are dry, waiting for the first rainfall. The sky was clear except for the observation balloon.
The paratroopers are manning the security posts. We had a conversation with one of the soldiers who is a lone soldier from New York. The other soldiers ignored us. New: A list of residents of the neighborhood near Patriarch Cave is posted in the security booth in front of the neighborhood. Those residents whose names and details appear on the list are free to enter the neighborhood once their ID cards are quickly checked against the list.
Tarpat crossing – the skeleton of the burned caravan stands next to Beit Ramano and in its place is a new magnometer caravan so the security check routine continues. When we arrived, a group of Irish tourists were visiting Hebron and then going on to East Jerusalem and other towns in the West Bank. When they passed through the Tarpat checkpoint, a Breaking the Silence guide was waiting for them. One of the women wanted us to talk to the group about what we do once she understood who we were – perhaps another time. We did send her the link to our website.
Abed has opened his store and told us that the city is beginning to recover after being almost empty of tourists during the summer because of the fighting. Let’s hope it continues.