Hebron, Sansana, South Hebron Hills, Tarqumiya, Tue 3.6.08, Morning
a visitor with many queries: Nir
07:00 - About a hundred workers are waiting in a queue that advances nowhere. Once we come on the scene the bottleneck widens miraculously and the queue diminishes rapidly. Shlomi the director of the checkpoint exchanges some pleasantries with us and resumes his business.
Relatively few Israeli vehicles (perhaps due to the early hour).
Durah al-Fawar is open.
The Sheep Junction is open to pedestrians and vehicles. About twenty settlers are holding something between a demonstration and a mass prayer in protest of the removal of the barrier and opening of the junction to traffic. In order not to cause unnecessary friction or an outcry at such an early hour of the morning we keep our distance and proceed nonchalantly.
Shuyuch - Hebron - The military jeep is not parked here today. People employ a back to back technique to cross the road.
The Pharmacy Junction - We exchange some words with the soldiers on duty who seem bored though in good spirits (looking forward to their Shabbat and holiday break perhaps). The absence of the ISM volunteers in the area is apparent.
The illegal stronghold (an unfortunate choice of words in light of the patent unlawfulness of the entire settlement project) under the Hill of the Patriarchs has been rebuilt.
Tarpat Junction - A handful of people crossing.
Tel-Rumeida - As soon as they become aware of our presence the checking of the youth who cross through the meganometer and their documents becomes a show of intent on the part of the soldiers. The constable in the blue police jeep checks our identity cards, tells us off lightly and warns us not to go up. So long as we're there all identity cards of those crossing are checked as well as by the military by the constables. The surrealism intensifies when our car fails to start and the local youths push it into igniting (real co-existence in the shadow of the border police jeeps).
New cameras have been placed on the road to the Cave of the Patriarchs - technology in the service of ideology.
Cave of the Patriarchs Checkpoint - No detainees.
The Disputed House - Our valiant soldiers shelter from the heat in the house appropriated by the Jewish family and enjoy full Jewish hospitality (Hagit comments cynically that "the symbiosis lives on"). Needless to say, we don't enjoy the same attentions. Disappointed we leave.
Al-Juwarrah - is open with more Palestinian vehicles than usual.
Tarqumiya is almost entirely empty. It is 09:15 but the bus ferrying the prisoners' families has not yet departed.