Hebron, Sansana, South Hebron Hills, Tarqumiya, Tue 8.7.08, Morning
Translating- Aviva W.
Guests: Inbal, Inbar
6:30 AM-12:00 PM
There have been warnings about terrorists who are setting out from Hebron, thus there are numerous army roadblocks all along the way.
I know that this has nothing to do with the report, but I wonder if someone in “High Places” who decides on the policies that set up the flying roadblocks, can appreciate the ‘contribution’ that they have in disrupting the fabric of the Palestinians’ life, and the spontaneous terrorist activity that comes from despair. We are always fighting and never, ever, really think of how to make peace.
For the last three weeks, ever since additional windows for checking the permits were opened, the passage is going amazingly smooth. The people arrive and pass through without delay. The internal fences that mark the line have been removed – in short - the Palestinians are now considered human beings at this checkpoint. There are no families coming into Israel to visit prisoners – they came in yesterday, and according to the falafel vendors, the passage went smoothly yesterday as well. The parking lot is packed with Palestinian cars – more people are allowed to travel on Road 60 all the way to the CP.
The road to Karameh, Abdeh, and the side route to Dahariya have been opened. On the other hand however, several additional roads to Road 60 have been blocked anew. The army announced that it has opened 10 barriers, but we have observed only 4 opened (including the infamous Sheep Crossing) and the rest are exactly as they were before. In Samoa, that is completely blocked, we meet a taxi driver who tells us of the ride he has to make to go from Dhariya to Samoa. A drive that should take five minutes takes him an hour.
Dura/ Al Fawwar- Open
Hakvasim (Sheep’s) Crossing –
This CP is manned by reservists. They have come out of the pillbox and are stopping all traffic coming from Yatta. The queue from Yatta is relatively short, and the queue from Hebron is too long to see the beginning of it. People coming from Hebron tell us that they have been there for over an hour. Those that are fed up with waiting in their cars get out and walk to the line. All ID cards are being checked. If the Palestinians don’t keep the line in order the reserve serviceman, who is the officer at the CP, uses his authority and closes the flow of traffic. This happens every few minutes. ‘For all I care, they can forget how to behave.’ Then he shouts out to them: ‘One at a time.’ When he sees me holding the telephone and talking he opens the gate… as I approach him he closes the gate. I return to my place, he opens the gate, and this behaviour repeats itself over and over again. The expression “The slave has been crowned King” was written about him. We stayed there for an hour, and we were ineffective, so we decided to move on.
Entrance to B’nei Na’im- Blocked and with a lot of pedestrians – two army jeeps are guarding a work vehicle of the Electric Company.
Sheikh Saed – There are no people and no army presence during the time we were there.
The streets of H2 are abandoned, and there are very few Palestinians out. Ofer Ochana is stalking us with his white command car like jeep, from the time we arrive at Bassam’s grocery store. As we go up to the Disputed House he is right behind us. The border police are sitting in their station, and the soldiers are guarding for the settlers.
The Pharmacy CP –
A few children wearing red hats are coming and going through the CP, perhaps they are in a camp program. An army policewoman is at the CP. Here Ofer recruits additional forces: No’am Arnon, the spokesman of the Jewish Settlements in Hebron who makes a speech in front of a camera with us in the background. No’am “explains” at length why we are traitors along with the usual mantra. We do not react or reply to anything he says. He doesn’t exist for us. The soldiers look at this “play” but Ofir gives some of them bear hugs and none of them express any opposition to this. The same old symbiosis between the soldiers and the settlers is apparent here.
Tarpat CP, Tel Rumeida, and Upper Tel Rumeida -
Everywhere we go Ofer follows us. The entire area is abandoned this morning. A new group of peace activists are sitting and watching. They look like they might faint from the heat.
Tomb of the Patriarchs - There are no delays. Ofer has brought out more crazy thugs, and again the mantras of ‘traitors’ and the profanities. A busload of Christian tourists from the USA who have come to encourage Palestinian tourism industry is parked there. We have a couple of pleasant conversations with them, and then Ofer “enlightens” us with – ‘You are corrupting the goyim, go to your tractor-terrorist.’ We didn’t have anything more to do there, so we departed.
All of the barriers are still in place:
A flying checkpoint is in place: People are getting out of their cars at Halhul and walking in the direction of Hebron. Those coming from Halhul do not have to show their ID cards. Those coming from Hebron to Halhul and on to Jerusalem have cards taken from them. I ask the soldier to at least let them stand in the shade, but the proud reservist replies: “Why should I care where they stand”… Two young mothers and an elderly woman are allowed to cross over and stand by us. At exactly 10:30 AM they pack up the CP and leave. Why didn’t they leave before that? (Remember what I said about the solutions of those sitting in “High Places?”) This CP is here for three hours every morning, and we only watched it for a half an hour. I can’t stop the tears from welling up in my eyes while watching these citizens going through this ordeal. The young children that don’t have ID cards are allowed to pass, but have to pick up their shirts and turn around…and these are the ones who are expected to behave themselves, and not turn to desperate actions. Evil is so banal.
Idna Tarqumiya – The pillbox is manned – the traffic is flowing – the truckloads are great. The merchandise from Ramallah has not arrived because of the checkpoints.
There aren’t a lot of trucks here. The two busses that went to the prisoner’s visits passed through here. The merchants passed quickly. The metal fences that are in excess, and must cause despair, hopefully will be removed as they were in Sansana, and hopefully the Palestinians will be treated like human beings.