Hebron, Sansana, South Hebron Hills, Thu 19.6.08, Afternoon
Sansana-Meitar - 16:00
The checkpoint is virtually empty with just a handful of workers returning home, no queue.
Most of the road blocks are in place, no change.
A little past the junction to the right hand side of the road a new way has been opened. It looks like the work of the army because the track is tidy and level. Generally there are more private Palestinian vehicles on the road, especially between Durah and the Sheep Junction. Some military vehicles are also observed.
On our return an army jeep is stationed at the Sheep Junction. The soldiers are in the vehicle.
Two buses of the Hebron Hills Development Company are parked at the parking lot between Hebron and Kiryat Arbah, by the row of shops in front of the Disputed House. Looks like the settlers are shopping. On our return journey too we observe settlers loading furniture in the Palestinian shops. The market forces must have gotten the upper hand of hatred. Many children are about in the street and on the sidewalks. The holidays are in full swing. A young child is running along the street holding a kite improvised from a plastic bag tied to a bag of marbles - a popular game. A military jeep stands at position 387.
The Pharmacy Junction
Some Palestinian shops close to the junction have been broken into. Their doors have been forced open. We don't know who the perpetrators are or for what purpose. It could be Palestinians trying to qualify for the economic aid promised by the mayor to whoever renews business in the Shuhada street.
We visit Issah's house where Betzelem is helping to convert the second floor into an office. Zipi's son is among the workers and he share with us his idea to build a playground there. We meet an acquaintance of his and he tells us of a violent event in which the soldiers beat up his son after accusing him of trying to steal one of their weapons. We gathered from what we heard that the boy was finally released on bail, after the police intervened and worked out that the soldiers were lying. Never a dull moment in Hebron.
Near the Muslim graveyard there's also Palestinian construction going on full blast. A few houses have been renovated and they beautify the place. Three girls are waiting in the bus stop by the military base on the Shuhada. They ask us for a lift to Kiryat Arbah. They seem of Russian descent and look completely out of place in the area.
Sansana-Meitar Checkpoint - about 18:30
An unbearable stench of sewage overwhelms visitors to the checkpoint. A few workers wait to cross, no more than 20. It seems that inspection is quick and that there are no hitches. We pass the revolving gate and are impressed with the new checkout posts. At the moment two are operational for documents only.
In the morning, a security man explains, there are two positions for document checking and another two for baggage. The place boasts some notices advising on the traffic procedures in the checkpoint, in Hebrew and Arabic. The atmosphere is relaxed. A few workers with agricultural produce cross over without problem.
Ten minutes later we leave.