Hebron, Sansana, South Hebron Hills, Tarqumiya, Tue 1.1.08, Morning
6:30 – 10:30
Sansana Crossing (Meitar)
We arrive at 6:35 and there are no transits and almost no workers, just a few waiting for their rides. We do a quick check and learn that the same number of workers went through as usual…so sometimes there is good news, and maybe this is a good opening to the New Year. On our way back at 10:00, we see a Palestinian couple, the woman holding a baby, standing on the Israeli side of the checkpoint. It seems they have an appointment at Soroka for the baby to have an operation for a cleft palate and received a permit and all they need. We can't take them to Soroka because our driver, A., doesn't have a baby seat. Before we have a chance to phone anyone, someone waiting there takes them in his car. We have no idea how much he charges them.
Nazaleen (Metzudot-Yehudah) – the checkpoint is empty. A large yellow gate has been installed. The only ones allowed through are from the Kabata family (there is a list by name at the checkpoint), Nazleen teachers, cars with yellow license plates and holders of blue identity cards.
Road 317 – Road 356
All the road blocks are in place, the road is empty of people, military and Palestinian vehicles, only a few settler vehicles are seen. It's winter exam time for the Palestinian pupils.
Sheep Crossing – a military jeep stands there with soldiers inside. Light pedestrian traffic.
Shuiuch - Hebron junction– A military jeep with soldiers from Samson (arrived here from the Bethlehem area) are detaining three Palestinians who crossed with tools from the direction of Hebron to Shiuch. They wait half an hour and are let go. The soldiers tell us what they know about the incident on Friday. It turns out that between Chalchul and Bet Cachil there's a wadi with springs where the settlers often hike. They don't know who brought the settlers there. They think that probably their parents took them to the beginning of the hiking route.
The rest of the road is clear of military vehicles. There are very few vehicles. All the barriers are in place and the pill boxes are manned.
The Humanitarian Crossing – a Border Guard jeep detains a Palestinian car with three passengers. We stop and they are let go.
Chalchul Bridge – Hebron – traffic flows, the pillbox is manned. A Palestinian we meet in the grocery store in Idna tells us that they've been having surprise road checks since Friday, and also within Bet Cachil itself, but this doesn't happen while we are there.
Idna – Tarqumiya – the pillbox is manned and the people there tell us there was a bit of a mess on Friday, but it cleared up quickly. Their story of what happened is quite different from the Israeli story and sounds totally surrealistic, but who knows? They claim the murder took place against a background of money changing. The two youths who were killed came to exchange checks for cash which the money changer, a Hebron millionaire gave them. Because they didn't give him the checks, he killed them. They claim there are regular business relations and illegal dealings between the Kiryat Arbah people and the wealthy of Hebron.
All the roadblocks are in place and the pillboxes are manned.
At 7:30 there are no workers left. Shlomi, the checkpoint commander, said 3500 workers went through this morning. The three buses full of prisoners' families left at 7:45. A line is forming for the license bureau – three cars.
The rest of the people and vehicles pass through quickly. The army built a blue shack as protection from the rain for the soldiers – now that the checkpoint is about to close, they suddenly remember. The back-to-back gasoline lot was moved closer to the checkpoint. The terminal building at the new checkpoint is still not completed. At the goods crossing there is a line of 12 Palestinian vehicles and there are 15 trucks on the Israeli side. No one is complaining.
We took a deep breath and went in. We told ourselves 'we're not getting out of the car.' Who knows what the settlers will do to us? We arrived a little after 9:00.
The Disputed House – the border guard position is deserted and the Samson soldiers are guarding the entrance of the house. They've come down from the roof. At this hour the place seems deserted of Palestinians. One passes and isn't detained or checked. Palestinian children are wandering near the Pharmacy Checkpoint with buckets in their hands to pick up the famous soup in the Casbah. Here too it is exam time and they go to school only on the day of an exam.
On the way to HaShohadah Street – a large group of settler children are blocking the road and a soldier, an officer in Samson, is arguing with them. We don't stop to listen. Those little ones are very violent and we are afraid.
Avraham Avinu checkpoint – a single soldier is seen.
Tarpat Checkpoint – as usual there are people crossing – very few and with almost no inspection.
Tel Romedah Checkpoint – Soldiers are standing in the road which is almost empty of people. Children in a store up above have lit a fire to boil a pot of corn. When we walk near the Chabad cemetery, we meet the milkman with his donkey. The donkey looks tired, as does the Palestinian.
The Cave of the Patriarch's Checkpoint – no detentions.
We leave Hebron with the feeling that the horrors continue in this cold alienated city. The guard at the yellow gate stops us as we leave. Why? Just because, to check that we have our seatbelts on, and to bother A., our driver.
That's it – the end – Hebron annoys and depresses at the same time.