Dura-Al Fawwar Junction, Halhul, Sansana (Meitar Crossing), South Hebron Hills
All week I’ve felt extremely distressed we’re unable to help the Palestinians during their difficult time. My heart shudders when I hear “a wave of terror in Israel” – when almost all the terror is aimed at the army and the settlers in the occupied territories. I view it as their struggle for independence… Which is why, despite my apprehension, I decided to go on my shift. Solidarity must prove itself in difficult times. I was particularly afraid of the settlers and of Palestinians who don’t know me and who might harm me by chance. It never occurred to me that I’d have to fear the soldiers. What happened to us today proved otherwise.
The Sham’a bus stop: Border Police and combat engineers are fortifying bus stops. They’re unloading concrete barriers from a large truck and placing them across the road. Construction of Sham’a’s new neighborhood is proceeding rapidly.
Dura al Fawwar
The gate to Dura is closed. A checkpoint at the gate toward al-Fawwar, soldiers inspecting every vehicle.
The occupation has regressed at least ten years.
When we saw them stopping taxis and making all the passengers get out we stopped and went over to observe and photograph – from a distance. One soldier saw me photographing and screamed at me so loudly he might have been heard in Ashqelon. It was frightening. We didn’t realize he was screaming at us; we thought he was just screaming in general and hurried to the car – we thought something terrible had happened – he ran toward us huffing and puffing and yelled “bring me the iPad now” – “rage” would be an understatement to describe his running amok – the right thing to do would have been to give him the iPad immediately, otherwise he would have shot me – the rifle was pointed at me. Stinking leftist traitor, you should be hanged, one minute more he would have lynched me. He opened the car’s trunk, the rear doors and asked M., our driver, for the keys and ran to the other soldiers shouting “leftists, leftists”….
He returned to us accompanied by two other soldiers, much calmer and wiser. They were between the hammer and the anvil – on the one hand, they knew nothing had happened, we’d broken no law, and on the other they knew they couldn’t avoid backing up their colleague somehow. He demanded they call their company commander immediately so he could tell us we’re being arrested and to confiscate my iPad. They spoke to the company commander who asked to speak to me on the phone. I told him who I am and what we’re doing – he knew about Machsom Watch. After talking to his commander, “this slave who’d become a king” harassed us a bit more and then returned my iPad and the car keys.
The two other soldiers told me he’s an extremist…he’s an extremist…nor did he say anything abusive to M., our driver; quite the opposite: have a good day, Bro’, he told him when he gave him the keys. But we, the leftists – he almost spit at us.
We drove on, and since we knew there were six battalions of soldiers now in Hebron we decided not to enter. Almost all the soldiers are filled with fear and hatred, with itchy trigger-fingers. Human rights are the last thing on their mind and in their evaluation of the security situation, which is even scarier.
Kvasim junction. The gates on both sides of the junction are closed. Soldiers only in the pillbox.
Bani Na’im. Open
Bet ‘Anun. Closed, no soldiers (at 11:30).
Halhoul/Sa’ir. Open, soldiers only in the pillbox.
Ukafim junction – Highway 60 / 35. Soldiers continue training on the firing range.
Halhoul-Hebron bridge – Zayit crossing. The el-Gura neighborhood. There are disturbances there constantly, and that’s also where the 73 year old Palestinian woman involved in a traffic accident was killed. Today it’s open and you can see the ashy remains of the pile of burned tires that had blocked the road. At 11:45 there were no soldiers there. Only Palestinian police are visible at a distance.
Highway 356. Traffic police accompanied by soldiers are ticketing, as usual. As N., the owner of the grocery at Zif junction says, here there’s business as usual. Nor are there any roadblocks.
Highway 317. No one on the road other than us. It looks like people are already living in the new neighborhood at the Carmel settlement.
Meitar checkpoint. The vegetable market is open as usual, but people are angry and fearful.
Next week we’ll try to organize a shift jointly with people from Breaking the Silence. Perhaps we’ll be able encourage each other.