Dura-Al Fawwar Junction, Hebron, Sansana (Meitar Crossing)
If you haven’t time to read the entire report, here’s a summary: nothing unusual occurred, nothing new, other than the routine which is certainly extraordinary from any normal point of view!
Meitar crossing: Empty and desolate.
Highway 60: Heavy traffic, particularly heading south.
Al-Fawwar – Dura: The checkpoint is open, no soldiers visible (they’re probably in the observation tower).
The observation balloon floats overhead, as usual
Hebron is deserted: At the exit from Kiryat Arba, no one’s throwing rocks. Two little settlers, aged 5 or 6, play among the army’s barrels outside Beit Hameriva. Beyond the checkpoint a truck is being unloaded of merchandise going from H1 to H2.
A group of Jewish tourists (pilgrims?) cluster near Beit Gotnik and go up toward the Cave of the Patriarchs. Otherwise there’s almost no sign of life in the street, until we meet A.A. next to the Tarpat checkpoint. He says “everything’s OK.” Tel Rumeida is also deserted, as is the Pharmacy checkpoint through which two school-age youths are passing. Again no rock throwers when we return to the exit from town. A few cars with Israeli plates at the tire stores: Business As Usual.
We continue to Highway 60 north to see the settlements along the way, opposite the El Aroub refugee camp. Heavy traffic heading south and we drive on calmly. Even at Beit Umar everything’s quiet; the vegetable sellers try to attract customers.
The area which will become a settlement is large, neglected and surrounded with a metal fence that looks strong and new. There’s a large area inside the fence and a stone house that looks (from the outside) to be in good condition, and a few structures in stages of disintegration. Neglected fields outside the fenced area. We don’t know whether they’re privately owned or “state land.”
On our way back we’re stuck in a traffic jam that delays us three-quarters of an hour and is extremely annoying. We don’t know the cause but there was apparently an accident because we saw two vehicles by the roadside and a policeman and a soldier and a man dressed like a very religious Moslem.
Highway 317 is quiet, the settlements flourishing and at the Meitar crossing, through which a few laborers are still returning, there’s a little show:
M. presents his ID and the female guard asks where he came from, and he, tired and annoyed replies briefly, from Kiryat Arba.
The guard (in a tone like a kindergarten teacher addressing a rebellious child): M., you’re being impolite, I don’t like that, and remove your hat. You’re concealing your face!
Yehudit: Smiles, presents her ID, explains we’ve come from Kiryat Arba.
The guard to Yehudit (in a tone of a teacher, not a kindergarten teacher): What’s the connection between you?
The atmosphere is chilly; in a minute she’ll bring the modesty brigade or something like that.
Yehudit (in a tone of a school principal speaking to a pupil who’s pleasant but not very bright): We’re friends.
The guard (finding it hard to believe): Friends? What do you mean? Are you members of some organization or something?
Yehudit: We’re from MachsomWatch and we’re here at least four times a week. You can ask the checkpoint’s manager.
The guard, retreating: OK, how should I know! You’re allowed to leave!
And thus home, tired but hungry, as the Gashshashim would say. The mere journey to this other world, even if “nothing happened,” is an experience – though I don’t know what kind, exactly – of madness, perhaps.