Hebron, Sansana, South Hebron Hills, Thu 29.5.08, Morning
06:10 - Sansana-Meitar
The checkpoint is empty, no workers are waiting and whoever comes crosses at once. We speak to the Palestinians a little and hear that today everything went well but that still on some days only one inspection counter is operational in the early morning and that causes long queues. In addition the workers complain of the return journey, the second, long inspection at the end of their work-day. Thursdays are the worst.
06:25 - Highway 60
All the road blocks are in place. We notice some unfamiliar boulders, new ones.
Durah Al-Fawar is open.
The Sheep Junction is open. Two Jewish men and a lad are praying with a military hammer on guard. From the reserve soldiers in the vehicle we learn that they chanced to pass by and that this is not a case of coordination between the army and the praying threesome. The hammer did not turn off the engine during our 15 minutes stay, the petrol by the grace of Allah...
The Palestinians crossed uninterrupted throughout our stay.
07:15 - Hebron
In the shack (sukkah) by the checkpoint between Hebron and Kiryat Arbah people are praying. It's the first activity we have observed there.
The children crossing The Pharmacy CP are excited - this is the last day of school, now exams and home for the holidays. During our entire stay no bag was inspected. Two CPT monitors tell us that for the most part the door to the inspection room is kept open but sometimes the soldiers shut it and leave it shut for longer than usual and that may alarm the children within. This did not happen while we were there.
By the Beit Hadassah post and the steps to the Girls' School a soldier is thumbing a ride. We stop to pick him up. A settler lad sitting in the position rudely signs to him not to accept a ride from us but the soldier ignores him and gets in.
Tel Rumeidah is quiet and deserted. Only settlers are about.
Soldiers have scribbled graffiti on Isah's house. Close by in between the Palestinian houses the remains of the big Lag ba-Omer bonfire that had burnt here can be discerned. The big Mulberry tree nearby is slightly scorched.
We walk along the road in the direction of the Girls' School. Soldiers are sitting in the corner of the cosy position that the settlers have made. A soldier stops to speak to us by the wholesale market, a nice pleasant conversation.
The Cave of the Patriarchs - As we get there the documents of four young Palestinians are taken. We notice that the soldier does not even relay the identity numbers in his wireless and ask him why. He begins to hum and ha and calls with the details only when we phone the Public Complaints of the border police. Then a few settlers begin to crowd around us, some of which are familiar faces. A settler parks his car virtually inside the position and about 20cm from my foot. A few more arrive and we become the focus of shouting and abuse. Then a few more border police arrive at the post, among them an officer who claims to be the officer in charge but no one thinks to reprimand the settlers or move them away from us. The settlers continue to harass us and stick cameras into our faces. They do not physically attack us but their behaviour is decidedly menacing. All this time we do not exchange a word with them. Three policemen also arrive on the scene but again - the same passive ingratiating behaviour towards the settlers.
Anat, a notorious woman settler, incessantly adheres to us, talking about my womb and the need to give birth, to have a multitude of children. To Mira she says that it's too late, that she has one foot in the grave.
All through this 30 minutes ordeal none of the law enforcers lifts a finger to stop the aggression of the settlers towards us.
After about 30 minutes the last Palestinian of the four detained is released and we leave.
In my heart I am troubled by the question - would the soldiers and policemen have done anything should we have been physically attacked, or would they even then have said - go submit a complaint at the police station.