Hebron, Sansana, South Hebron Hills, Tarqumiya, Tue 15.4.08, Morning
Sansana- Meitar CP
There are no workers at the line on 6:45 a.m – those who arrive passes immediately. Two busses for prisoners families awaites – the Red Cross representive is already there. Waiting for two more busses – the family inspection will commence at 7 a.m.; the sanitation facilities are clean. One of the merchants at the site says that the last two days were very good. The workers no longer quarrels with each other but stands in line and people do not wait at the checkpoint more then half an hour. Today the checkpoint was open at 4 a.m.; another person tells us that he arrived yesterday after 9 p.m and had to sleep at the checkpoint. He asked us to take care that the checkpoint will be open for 24 hours. That won’t be possible but maybe it people who have encountered this difficulty could pass through the vehicle checkpoint. We left him our phone number. At the vehicle ground between the Palestinian side and the Israeli side five cars are being inspected with a metal detector and with a dog. All the cars are with Israeli license plates and the drivers are probably Palestinian with an Israeli ID Card.
We are driving on the new road, there are more Palestinian Taxis, and all the blocks are in place. At the municipal council of Mt. Hebron South, the Israeli Independence day is already being celebrated with great festivity. Their flags are being hanged till the blockage at Dahariya which is not mentioned at road signs. Children are walking to school at the road side – the crossing is dangerous. There are no military command cars or other army vehicles at the sheep junction or Shayuch-Hebron Junction. The pillboxes are manned as usual.
"Widdow Straw" procedure: on the house of the Kafisha family - which is over the Habad section of the city – the army has captured the roof. We arrive and see the neighbor works at his vegetable garden and ask him when have the soldiers arrived. He tells us that it was 10 minutes ago. There is a movement of soldiers who appeared to be entering – two soldiers are downstairs securing the entrance to the house. It is a four story building and his roof provides an excellent look out on Hebron. Nobody lives on the last floor, not since the beginning of the second Intifada. The army comes to this house a lot. At floor beneath the roof, an elderly woman resides with her two daughters – we decide to climb and see how they are getting along. We climb and knock but no one answers - and why should they? Is there any reason that they won't be terrified from us too? We continue to the roof, where the soldiers are located. From their conversations and from the fact that some of them are sleeping on the floor, we learn that they were there all night long. The apartment looks deserted indeed and before the officer in charge drives me away, I manage to catch a glimpse on Hebron from above. We go downstairs – the neighbor brings coffee and gives us the phone number of the woman's son who lives at the second entrance of the house. We talk to the son and he tells me that for now all is well with the family. The soldier tells us also that they are not disturbing the family. When I say that it is not so accurate, especially from the women who live at the apartment above, he nods his head. They say that they will leave in a short time. I call the brigade spoke person, and tell that we know that they are there, and I also fill in the 'Betzelem' activists. Meanwhile the nightshift is leaving and the day shift remains at the outpost. The roof is deserted right now – maybe it was abandoned for the same reason as the apartment beneath it. We finish our coffee, give our phone number and leave them to suffer the occupation on their own; and the shame is choking our threat.
The pharmacy checkpoint : The children stand in line, the soldiers are checking the backpack of every child, but are doing it with a smile. The young boy with the Down syndrome is walking around at the checkpoint without any interference. The crippled boy is being driven to school by his friends; the soldiers open quickly the side passage. The genitor of the boy school is in place to watch the children. He tells us that next week- a week of holiday vacation in Israel – the children will learn only until 11 a.m. from that time the settlers' visitors will start to arrive and in order to prevent unnecessary engagements, the Palestinian are being punished (again), and all this is under the orders of the civilian administration.
The Patriarchs cave checkpoints: All who is under 35 is being asked to lift his pants over his shoes so he can be checked, if he is not carrying a knife. I saw there two men who were checked that way. They were not detained further, how ever. The music that is being heard from Gutnick house is much weaker. It is being turned on only when Jewish visitor arrives, but it's not full volume all the time.
The disputed house - Sitting on chairs outside their pillbox – there no people and it is terribly filthy, why?
Tarpat-Tel Rumeida CP- No special events, a rather large group of peace activists at the spot.
We have finished Hebron with a great despair in our heart.
The old checkpoint is being de constructed now. They are starting to load the old buildings on trucks, the rest of the equipment is being taken down. One bus of prisoner's family is situated at the Israeli side- at the new checkpoint. They are waiting for the arrival of the Israeli police. It's already 9:45 a.m and they haven't left yet – it's the police and the Red Cross fault.
Few merchants are entering at the Palestinian side and one of them is being turned back because his permit had expired. Inside the checkpoint shed, stone benches are being built – and instantly there are walls that one needs to stand in order to be in the queue. The walls create a four side maze that ends in a carousel. Since there is no Palestinians there, I try to pass and find myself locked. I am detained until they will put me through a hearing for this action. When the Palestinian merchant is being turned back, I walk with him
In Lod's airport this kind of contraption is made out of ropes – here it is tight fences with a narrow 70 cm space between each of them. Two people cannot stand one next to each other but only one after the other – a sure recipe for trouble on crowded days. The inspector who talks to the merchants sounds gracious – her voice though sounds metallic when it comes out of the speaker, like a robot. Between the carrousels there is a check post with sealed window – those who sit inside can hear you talk but you can't hear them and if you to talk to him you need to go to the speaker. The whole scene carries with it a kind of a "big brother" atmosphere and a sense of an evil architecture that watch you over from above, from below and from all places.
2450 workers passed Tarqumiya today. The last one left at 7:00 a.m. and this is a great achievement. The Palestinians complain that it is not allowed to transfer Elites coffee bags – they beep at the screening process(we heard them at the grocery store near the square). The entire checkpoint is being piloted and the workers are not accustomed to the screening process and the palm card. But it seems that a great effort is being put in order to let them pass as fast as possible.
Translation - Moriel R.