Hebron, Sansana, South Hebron Hills, Tue 1.4.08, Morning
We will start from the good news because all the rest is preety bleak - Bani NAim blockage has opened again!
Sansana - Meitar checkpoint
We are there at 6:40 am and there still workers awaiting in great numbers on line. Some of them have arrived late but there are people who are waiting for many hours. There was an operational problem and the checkpoint was open lately this morning.
The operational problem is as follows: the workers at the checkpoint are in charge of the security check. The soldiers, which are actually Military Police soldiers, are in charge of computation and registration. Today the MP didn't arrive on time so the checkpoint was open late. According to Zaki, one of the people who are in charge, the transference of the registration responsibility to the civilian worker is piloted and he hopes that such operational problem will not occur. Another check post is under construction.
On Monday and Thursday, the days in which the prisoner's family arrives, it takes many hours to return home. The last worker have passed at 8:30 pm. The checkpoint is not ready for a simultaneous check up of workers and families. It is unfair and not dissent and the checkpoint workers must find an immediate solution to this problem. On one of the sleeves the speaker volume is unbearable hence every time a Palestinian is addressed it sounds as a shout or a bark. It is inhumane and worthy of reexamination.
A representive of the civilian administration should be in contact with the workers who are denied entrance, instead of sending them to the office at Hebron without giving them any reason why they cannot enter (even though they have an entrance permit).
The sanitation of the toilets depends on the merchants who have open kiosks there. Their merchant permit will be lost if the toilets will not be clean.
There were approx. fifty workers left at 7:15 am.
There are a lot of new road blocks until Hebron. There were no military vehicles at any crossing. The kids are walking to school at the edge of the highway, unbelievably dangerous as always. There is a huge amount of money which being put for the renovation of the road - why?- the settlers have the answers.
I do not know what else to write in order to convey the message and what else to say…it is so hard.
On the prayers route (leads to the cave of Patriarchs).
A military command car is located all the time. On our way back close to the exit from Hebron, a patrol of six soldiers enters the Arab neighborhood in H1 Zone. All of them are armed and with guns drawn. They are opening every door and check every window, looking at every child. We follow them only with our sight and do not enter after them. The IDF controls all of Hebron and gives no consideration to what is under Palestinian control and is regarded as under army control. This kind of patrol can arrive to every house in the city. It gives the sensation that instead of preventing terror acts like this actually promote it.
At the turn to the cave of patriarchs, up the road, stands another military command car. Next to concrete barricade the Palestinians have placed a bench and a few men who are observing the surrounding are sitting on it. They also planted a new tree but the checkpoint is blocked. The soldiers are sitting in the command car…there is a sense of serenity at the edge a volcano.
The Machpela cave - the cave of Patriarchs
There are two detainees all the time here, two different people on each time. The policemen of the border patrol are filling the quota. Regularly the detention last approx. twenty minutes, although sometimes it can last more. For each detainee there is a rigorous registration process.That is why they detain just for the inconvenience.
This day main event: a Palestinian boy which is known to have some behavioral disturbance problems have taken off the head cover of one of the Jewish woman prayers. Other than that she was unharmed. The boy was taken to custody, interrogated and was freed. The settlers, acting as vigilantes, glued all the locks of the Arab stores in the area so their owners could not arrive and work. The police are investigating and have sent a forensic technician who had not arrived as long we were there. Hayim- the Israeli kiosk owner taped us on video. We have reported to Ali Waked- a reporter from Ynet internet news. There isn't much livelihood to be made from these shops but this frustration which is generated from the endless war and the evil…and the police is always taking the settler side.
One of the settlers who passes from Tel-Rumeida congratulate a police officer on his success in foiling Palestinian attempts to harm the settlers-he refers to the incident yesterday with the child and the woman and another boy who stole a pair of bicycle. The other officer tells us that Baruch Marzel's son who attacked a Palestinian woman is held in the police station. He tries to keep us away from the checkpoint by saying we are endangering the soldiers there. It didn't do him much good – I will not be driven from a place which is free for all Israeli citizens not just for Jewish settlers. The commander of the army company (from the Nahal brigade) who is near, listen to us but claims that they actually are pursuing most of the time Jewish children who bother Palestinian and do not wait for the Police to come and do its job. When we say that the Palestinians don't feel that this is true he choose not to respond.
Three soldiers, desolate.
We continued up the road with the car and behind the Jewish graveyard, next to the concrete barricade that marks the end of the H2 territory we see to our surprise another temporary checkpoint of a whole squad - a lieutenant is standing with a drawn rifle next to a stonewall. Behind him laundry hangs to dry. In front of a house stands another soldier with his weapon visible, four more are standing on the road, two from every side. It is about 300 meter from Tel-Rumeida checkpoint- were the passerby will be checked again, so why there is another checkpoint here?. The lieutenant answers:" from here till Tel-Rumeida they can make another possible terrorist attack." But who can they possibly make such a thing, to their neighbors? It is a Palestinian neighborhood without a single Jew. Then why the checkpoint- Is it to show that we are in charge!?
And who pass there? A blind elderly gentlemen, feeling his way as he goes, people, old and young are being instructed to open their jacket, lift it and to make a circular movement. Some of them are placed against a concrete wall and they are ordered to spread their legs. Then the interior thighs are examined. A group of women gathers in order to walk to the infirmary who is located down the road not far from here. I escort them. Two young Palestinian women pass there- their body language transmits enormous anxiety and fear. It is terrible, simply horrific, to stroll in the heart of this city.
The Disputed house and its stories.
It is a year now since the drama around the house began and the situation is just getting worse.
At the holiday of Purim, Mrs. Yael cohen, a tenant from the disputed house, asked the police and the army to prevent from Palestinian to pass there. The army and the police complied but what can be done that some Palestinian live in the middle of the area. The settlers kids who got drunk during Purim threw on the neighbor house stones, and one of them got hurt. He filed a complaint at the police but no one identified the throwers.
Every day between two in the afternoon and six pm one elderly settler and twelve boys are walking in the streets. The elder instruct the boys to throw stones but when the Palestinian complains the police and the army do not believe them. And the settlers continue with this foul deed.
Yesterday a child bicycles were stolen from the feud house. They caught Bassem's brother son and blame him in the act. The Jewish boy came to identify the bicycles but he could not make a possible identification. The Police wanted to lock the Palestinian child – in spite of the fact that he didn't stole and people gathered around him. The rock throwing on the Palestinian houses ensued – from five pm till ten in the evening the riot continued. – Not one settler was arrested- a few Palestinian were apprehended.
A Palestinian went to pray in the musk near the feud house – a few women, settler that is, approach him. They told him go away from here. He placed his hands in his pockets but they shouted "hit me" hit me"; they called the police and the army, but the Palestinian hands remained were they were- so they could not prove anything. Never the less, the police drove him away because they did not want another riot…
All the Palestinian as one testifies on their accounts, that both the police and the army accept orders from the settlers and do exactly what the settler says. So what was once the norm on Avraham Avinu neighborhood and Tel-Rumeida is spreading to other neighborhoods in Hebron. And the law?! It remains silence along with justice while I wish to burry myself from shame. We left Hebron furious like we never been for a long time.
All the blocks are in place – army command cars are passing but do not stop and there are no rolling checkpoint. On Carmel settlement a new public building is being built- perhaps another "magnificent" temple.
Khirbet Tuwani stories
Last Friday settlers from Ma'on were led by the security officer Gedalya and drove with tear gas Palestinian sheep herders. they hurt an 89 years old herder. Now the Palestinians are herding their stock with cameras on them. Nasser was arrested them- tomorrow the court will decide if he will be freed on bail. Attorney Lea Tzemel attends his affair. That same Friday some men came from Ma'on farm. They were hid their face and frighten Jamaa and Jamal at their home with shouts and screams.
There were more stories – and all of them were from the same type – and again the police and the army do not believe. Not to the pictures and not to the testimony. Only to the settlers- the ones from which they receive their direct order.
We came back home exhausted from the evil.