Hebron, יום ב' 29.10.07, אחה"צ
From 1:00 till 6:00 PM
Hurrying South we had no time to dwell on the improvements at the Patriarchs’ Crossing and the massive army presence beyond Beit Umar along the road. We were asked to pay a visit to the CP’s in Hebron, since the Southern group only gets there in the morning. We were unfortunately too late to observe the schoolchildren coming home, because even the second shift had already finished. We will probably have to leave Jerusalem at 12:00 another time.
We had not been in Hebron for some time and it looked even more than before like a ghost town under siege. We parked across s Chabad kiosk with blaring music and walked along the “Pharmacy” CP, via Gross Square towards Shuhada Street (called Kind David Street in Hebrew). There were hardly any Palestinians on the streets and only a few people crossed the CP’s on foot with their groceries. One woman was not allowed to bring a shopping cart through. The Givati unit is now stationed in Hebron (probably in stead of the border Police). We talked to some soldiers who had spent the last two years in Gaza and consider this a picnic.
Some of the soldiers were chatting with the kids of the settlers and one was making sure that a little girl coming down in full speed on her tricycle didn’t get run over.
We ‘visited’ Tel Rumeida for the first time; one fortress-like building and some caravan like structures with a huge playground next to excavations. This ‘settlement’ is guarded by a squadron (a division) of Givati soldiers. A man told the soldiers: “They are forbidden to be here.” “This area is only for members of the three (sic!) families and their guests if they are duly registered” (it reminded us of the rules pertaining to entering the Kidmat Zion settlement beyond the Cliff Hotel in Abu Dis). We realized that here the civilians dictate the rules and give orders to the soldiers, but not only to the individual soldiers, also to the army and actually to the government and the whole country. We left to save the soldier further embarrassment.
Near Beit Romano where another squadron is stationed a group of soldiers were being briefed prior to going beyond the fence to patrol the Palestinian side of Hebron (H1). Ruth made pictures of the graffiti against Arabs on almost every door and wall. Most to the effect of ‘Death to Arabs’, ‘Arabs Out’, etc. Except for having some talks with the soldiers who appeared friendly towards us and being greeted by some of the few people venturing out, we felt that the sole purpose of our visit amounted to our mere presence and maybe this doesn’t warrant such a long drive. However, next time we will come earlier to ‘catch’ the children.
Since it was almost getting dark we didn’t manage to see the cemetery or go to Givat Haharsinah.