Hebron, Sansana, South Hebron Hills, Tarqumiya, Tue 13.11.07, Morning
Sansana CP- (Meitar)
(6:35) 35 workers are outside, and 35 are inside the sleeve. They are angry at us, “you don’t do anything. We’re here since 4:30”. At 6:45 there were no workers left in line. 700 workers pass through in 180 minutes according to our calculation. This is reasonable. But some of the employers tell the workers that if they don’t arrive by 6:30 they’ll lose a day of work. This is an impossible situation; maybe the crossing needs to be open 24 hours a day perhaps the contractors should pressure those operating the crossing. We gave the number of the terminal commander to a number of contractors we met.
Little children walking along the side of the highway on their way to school. All the check posts are in place and the pillboxes manned. At the Sheep’s Crossing there is a temporary check post which is detaining children on their way to school. Not longer than 2 minutes, and doesn’t seem as if they are passing on their ID numbers. Just to show who’s boss here. The truth is the soldiers seem as if they are just going through the motions, and are trying to be as nice as possible in this uncomfortable position.
All the check posts are up and traffic passes through without problems. That it is impossible to convey by vehicle gas balloons up to Tel Rumeida is annoying. What will he do if they are full? The gas man is detained at Machsom Tarpat. At the end of Shuheda there is check post with only one soldier and a jeep is parked behind the girls’ school. On the school gate someone has spray painted “death to Arabs”.
Check posts at the Tomb of the Patriarchs: 3 men are detained. A new border policeman, just assigned to Hebron, tries to shoo us away – saying we are disturbing his work. He calls for the regular police, asks for our ID’s, and after some discussion everything is clarified and our ID’s are returned. He will get used to our presence. He claims that we are not allowed to talk to those who are detained. As we speak the three men are released. We leave promising to return next week.
Halhul-Hebron bridge: all the check posts are in place, pillboxes manned, traffic flows.
We arrive at 10. According to people all the buses carrying families to visit prisoners have gone through without incident. We get to the new check post which is in the final stages of construction. There have been complaints by the truck drivers. We were taken to meet the manager of the crossing. He told us the following:
* The crossing terminals belong the Defense Ministry, headed by Bezalel Traiber, under Gen. Mishlav, the coordinator of activities in the territories.
* In Tarkumiya there are 3 Defense Ministry employees: the director, the person in charge of security, and operational manager.
* “Sheleg Lavan” employees are working for the contractor. They get their instructions from Shmuel Shifran, the director.
* In Tarkumiya there will be four crossing sleeves. The metal detector and the screening will be operated by Sheleg Lavan. The palm-reading device will be operated by the police or MPs who are the only ones authorized to do it.
* There is an order that by 6:45 the last of the workers must have passed through. The passage for families will only be open after the workers have gone through. In his opinion the time for passage when the crossing opens in 2 months will take longer than it does today.
* Machsom Watch volunteers will be able to observe from inside the sleeves.
* Crossing for goods will only be open at 7. The checking of an empty truck on the Israeli side takes 10 minutes, as we have witnessed.
* The waiting time depends usually on coordination between the Israeli and Palestinian drivers. There is no limited to the number of fork-lifts that can work at any one time.
* Palestinians and Israelis pay NIS 250 per truck using the crossing.
* There is problem re merchants from Beit Awah. They deal in used items in cars with Israeli license plates that come and go through the crossing. They are now being required to use the back-to-back system. This is a problem for the Palestinians who cannot afford to buy their own cars.
* Shmuel Shifran will be glad to cooperate with us on any matter that depends on him.