Hebron, Sansana, South Hebron Hills, Tarqumiya, Wed 9.1.08, Morning
Guests: Michal, Boaz, Nadav, Ilan and Danny
This is a tour combined with a watch.
7:30 – 15:30
7:30 – The new checkpoint is humming with trucks that are transferring goods back to back, despite the closure. There seems to be no progress in building the pedestrian walk. The old checkpoint is deserted because of the closure. President Bush is visiting, so thousands of Palestinians are deprived of the right to earn a living.
Eidna Crossing – Tarqumiya – the pillbox is manned, traffic is passing, all the checkpoints are in place and there are no vehicles on the road.
The Humanitarian Checkpoint – deserted. The pillbox is manned.
Shuiuch- Hebron crossing – (Girls’ School) – Soldiers in a military jeep are stopping people at random for between five minutes and half an hour. A discussion ensues between us and the soldiers on the justice of the detention. Me: “It’s like stopping people in the Kryiot, in Tel Aviv.” The soldier: “I know. I’m doing it to prevent terrorist acts.” Me: “On the Palestinians’ road, in between their houses in their own territory?!…” When fresh eyes (our guests) are watching with you, things look simply unbearable. The girls finished school early today and crossing the street with the busy traffic going full speed is truly life threatening. If these were Israeli children, - or better yet Jewish children – there would have been a tunnel here ages ago.
Porcelain Hill – the strange sight of a military jeep parked by the grocery store at the turn-off to the Border Police base. All the people there are wearing civilian clothes and I am upset at the sight – why have they stopped so many Palestinians so suddenly? What happened? It turns out these are reserve soldiers who have come to buy fireplaces for the winter. There’s no end to the surrealistic sights of Hebron – the sight of the Jews, soldiers, settlers, us, who are allowed to ride while the Palestinians walk, always depresses. A true apartheid road.
The Cave of the Patriarchs – No one detained and for some reason a lot of organized groups. The children finished school early and are wandering around the streets.
The Worshippers’ Path – the settlers – the hill youth – are setting up a settlement. The Palestinians are watching from above and the policemen, army and border police are watching them and doing nothing to disperse them.
Abraham-Avinu Neighborhood - Soldiers from the Samson Command stop us once again and don’t let us enter the neighborhood. This time I am stubborn. Why are right-wing Israelis allowed while we – a group of leftists – are not? The soldier reiterates that these are his orders. The discussion continues, a conversation with the brigade spokesman follows and the soldier on duty receives instructions to let us through. Soldiers accompany us on our tour of the neighborhood and I am able to see the wholesale market, which has been cleared of its inhabitants.
Tarpat Checkpoint – The soldiers know nothing about the fact that a birth occurred next to the checkpoint last night. They think it is illogical that the woman wasn’t allowed through…
The Pharmacy Checkpoint – there is almost no one going through
The Disputed House – A few passersby. The soldiers don’t bother them. A transit carrying elementary school pupils pulls up and a little girl – about five years old – goes home on foot. Before the checkpoint was constructed, she was let off right at her house. But that’s the way it is in Hebron – only Jews are important.
Road 356 – Road 317 – all the pillboxes are manned, all the checkpoints are in place, and no one is there.
Hirvat Tiwani – The children’s escort arrived on time. We drank tea with Jamal and look at the magnetic card punched by the police. Before he was prevented from entering Israel by the Shabak, now he is prevented by the police. There is no end to the problems of the Palestinians under the yoke of the settlers and the occupation.
Nazlin Checkpoint – empty at this hour. Only trucks from the quarry are going through.
Metar - Sansana Checkpoint – empty because of the closure.