Hebron, Sansana, South Hebron Hills, Mon 5.11.07, Morning
6:45 - We crossed the checkpoint and saw hundreds of men waiting to cross through the checkpoint. They reported that they had been waiting since 3:30-4:00 in the morning and that they were being permitted through at a very slow pace. According to them, the soldiers were carefully and slowly checking all food, shoes, etc. We drove back across the checkpoint to try to find out why the process was so slow. There were only two soldiers checking identity cards. They were seated in an enclosed room with windows facing the pedestrian corridor. The men had to put their id papers against the glass window to be checked against information in a computer. If that was approved, the final step was identification via hand print. When we returned to the van, Yeela started making phone calls to see if there was a way to speed up the process. She was told by the soldier on duty in Matak Hebron, that he had checked what was going on and was told there were only 45-50 in line and the process was being done quickly. This was no more than 10 minutes after we saw hundreds waiting in line.
Dura and El Fawwar – checkpoint is open. Many children, big and small, walk along the sides of the narrow road on their way to school.
Sheep Junction – checkpoint is open.
We arrived at the crossing at 7:35. Very little foot traffic there. The soldiers on duty were from Givati. Two women from the Christian Peacemakers Team had been monitoring the check point for a couple of hours and said there we no problems.
7:50. Also manned by Givati soldiers. Very few people passing. One of the soldiers told us that a week ago children threw stones at the crossing from surrounding roofs. He also told us a woman had just been arrested for pulling a knife on a soldier near Tel Rumieda so we went to investigate.
There were two Christian groups observing and the TIPH also arrived. A woman from one of the Christian groups who witnessed the incident said that soldiers were doing spot checks. A girl of about 16-17 was found to have a knife up her sleeve and when asked to drop it refused and made what was interpreted as a threatening gesture to the soldier questioning her. She was taken into custody and when we arrived was being questioned in a jeep and was then taken elsewhere. We understood that she was not a girl from the immediate neighborhood but further up the hill.
Cave of Machpela
8:30 Two Border policemen were guarding the crossing that leads to an internal checkpoint near the Cave of Machpela. Very few people were crossing. A man and a woman, members of TIPH, were walking around taking pictures on their day off.
8:40 Took the road 317 back to Sansana. All quiet. Yeela succeeded in obtaining the name of the commander of Sansana who attributed the delays to the lack of facilities to check large numbers of people quickly. By the time we reached Sansana at 9:00, the place was empty of people waiting to cross.