Sansana, South Hebron Hills, Thu 15.5.08, Morning
El Nakba day
Sansana - Meitar CP
6:15 - no people in the CP due to closure.
There's no change. All the roadblocks are in place. Another line (fifth) of cement blocks was added in South Samoa. Now, a large portion of this area is closed with cement blocks.
The sheep crossing – 6:15
Due to Palestinians' complaints about settlers who arrive every morning since last Friday, we decided to arrive at the junction early and to be there when it happens. When we arrive our driver leaves us on the side of road. A police car is standing on the traffic island at the center of the junction. He approaches us quickly and urges our driver to move. He claims that it is forbidden to stand there.
The sheep's crossing went through a significant change in foundations. A PillBox was built on the side of Yatta. There's work done at the area near the industrial area, probably for making the road wider. The access route to the main road is fixed but still blocked. The original road, 20 meters away is still blocked and it seems like vehicles will be going on the dirt road that was paved. A few stations were added and on all of them are signs of settlers from Independence Day: "going out to the open space".
We start to take off a few of the signs. The policeman approaches us again and comments. We don't know why because we took all the leftovers with us and it's hard to say that the junction and the area is clean. Near the junction there's a yellowing field. An old man is harvesting wheat (picture). I ask him for permission to take his picture and he moves slowly to make it easier for me.
In the junction many people are passing. Students hurrying to school, cab drivers from both sides of the road. We approach them. The drivers tell us that every morning a group of settlers arrives to pray there. According to them the junction is not blocked and the police keep the separation. They wait happily for the junction to open and they ask us whether we know when it will open. We say that the minister of defense said that it will open in the weekend but add Inshalla, because who knows?
15 minutes later another police car arrives and another policeman joins the two policemen that are already there. He doesn't say good morning to us although we greet him. He stops a boy that is riding his bicycle to check his things (picture). He checks excitingly every screwdriver and nail in the tool box that is placed on the bike. Then he turns to a body examination. It seems like he really wants to find something.
An Israeli car stops near the junction. He is asked to stop for inspection. The driver is an Israeli Arab. The Policeman suspects the car is stolen. He takes the man's id. After 20 minutes he is released. The suspicions were disconfirmed. A few Palestinian vehicles pass through the road while we're there. From time to time the policemen stop a cab, take off the passengers, take their ids for inspection and check the car.
No arrival of settlers.
7:30 Miki calls and asks that we go to Hirbet Twani because there are problems.
7:45 – Dirt road between Twani and Yatta
From a distance we see two army vehicles that stand on the road with tens of Palestinians. There are also a few CPT volunteers present and they document the event. We see the captain that was identified as the commander of the blocking. There's also a captain major but he keeps quiet, doesn't speak and seems out of contact. We know him already from other incidents (his name is probably Alon Toby). From talking to the soldiers we understand that they are conducting security inspections (the Palestinians are joking that Bush is supposed to pass through the dirt road). Today is Nacba day and there are many inspections in the area.
After a few minutes we understand that the blocking is intended to stop a specific guy from Twani who is defined by the soldiers as problematic (he is one of the dominant guys there and is a local leader. We are in contact with him for some time now and he is the contact man between the village and Taayush).The guy and his brother are on their way to work in the fields with the tractor. His id is inspected but the soldiers keep it. When we arrive they give it back to him but do not let him pass. He is not detained, only prevented from passing to Yatta! For him the road is closed and he can only go back to Twani. All the vehicles and people, on both sides are passing through. Some are inspected and some are not. We call the spokes woman of the division, to the Matak and to others and try to explain the arbitrary behavior of the major. But in the army, like the army – "Nakba day", "security reasons", and all that well known language. They are not interested in our explanations that other people are passing without inspection and it's just one man who is stopped because the officer simply wants to get back. He leaves his job in two days. We hope the new person will be more open-minded. Around 8:30 the man goes back to the village. He understands that today he will not get to the field.
This event raises a question: does the law allows an officer (major or any other rank) to prevent a local resident who is not detained from moving freely, while passage for other people is allowed?