Hebron, Sansana, South Hebron Hills, Tarqumiya, Tue 4.11.08, Morning
The main entrance from Road 60 to Samo'ah has been opened, with no pillbox next to it. We rubbed our eyes, as we saw taxies drive into town and on its roads. (All other exits to this road from the surrounding area have been blocked with stones and piles of rubble.)
At this time of time (10am), there are no pedestrians at the CP. On the Palestinian side of the parking lot, 5 busses are waiting for the prisoners' families to return from their visits to the Israeli prisons. In front of the "back-to-back" sand-loading gate, 6 Israeli trucks are waiting.
Daharia – blocked as usual. Samo'ah – as said above, its main entrance was opened.
Dura el Fawar – pillbox is manned and traffic flows. Sheep's crossroad – pillbox manned, traffic flows. There is not much traffic on the road, but more Palestinian cars than normally. Just before Shiyoch Hebron – a military vehicle and another, of the Israel electric co., together with people from the Palestinian electric co. are busy taking measurements, preparing for the setting up of new electricity lines. Girls School, Shiuyuch –Hebron – we cross the road, blockages are all in place.
Humanitarian CP – pillbox is manned; apart from that, the place is deserted. The olive passage – open. Halhul-Hebron Bridge – traffic flows, pillbox is manned. Next to the pillbox right above Beit Kachil, a huge antenna is being put up – more Palestinian cars on the road.
Idna-Tarqumiya – pillbox is manned, traffic flows. At the grocery, we equip ourselves, as usual, with the best Labaneh in the Middle-East. Representatives of the Halimi family still complain that they did not yet receive the long-awaited permit to harvest their olives, located on the Tarqumiya CP's other end. They own a lease rather than the grove itself and so, the permit is denied them on this ground – mere harassment. Arik from "Rabbis for Human Rights" will try to help them: hopefully, he will make it.
Three busloads of prisoners' families have passed there this morning. Their drivers, whom we met at the grocery, say they've passed through with no problems and anyway – the CP works as it should. On our way back we meet two Israeli Arabs who go through the car-check at Tarqumiya CP. They are grateful that dogs are no longer part of the check as they are observant Muslims and, religiously speaking, a dog cannot smell a Muslim's belongings. We were quickly allowed to proceed.
On our way from Kiryat Arba to Hebron, just before the Give'at Harsina Base, on the hill, we see a large number of border-police cars and photographers, overlooking the events on the Federman Farm. The farm is located below the northern crest of Kiryat Arba, next to Give'at Harsina. From our car, we can see the settlers roaming around there.
We reached Hebron at 11am. This is the time set by the Committee for the restoration of Hebron, holding a week devoted to raising awareness to the occupation of Hebron. We parked in the large parking lot, next to the pharmacy CP. When we arrived there, we were alone. So we went to chat with a few of our acquaintances. M., the boys' school's janitor, complains that the children's morning check is slow. I walk with him to the CP and we talk to the soldiers – they promise him that checks will be quicker. Apart from us, there are very few passers by. Ofra and Yaniv proceed a bit further, and the policemen in the Jeep that's already positioned there show them a closed military area edict. We return to the parking lot, when a somewhat higher ranking police officer presents us with the new edict, up-to-date. A large photo is attached to this edict, and it applies to the entire Hebron-Kiryat Arba area. All this, in order to prevent the solidarity events, organized by the Committee for the restoration of Hebron. In front of us, stand representatives of all of the Palestinian media and so, the policemen are in no haste to impose the edict, allowing us some more time. Meanwhile, the Committee's members arrive – a large group of twenty Palestinians who are very happy to see us (representatives of Peace Now, Bnei Abraham [sons of Abraham], Fighters for Peace, Breaking the Silence, and us). We talk to them a bit and Hagit from Peace Now is interviewed by the Palestinian media.
A minute later, a group of about fifty people, tourists or activists from the US, arrives from the H1 area. With them, arrives also Bob Simon, of CBS's 60 minutes interview program. At the same time, arrive also Baruch Marzel and Ofer Ohana, with all his cameras and the usual talk of "you must visit the grave of the holy Baruch Goldstein and ask for mercy because you are such traitors…" We talk very briefly to Bob Simon and managed to get his visiting card. Bob mumbles to Michael – Hebron is a dangerous place. All this while, the policemen start imposing the closed military area edict and make us leave, giving Baruch Marzel a golden opportunity to flood Bob Simon with his poisonous words.
We drove away from there, and stopped by Basem's grocery, going up to the Disputed House [Beit HaMeriva]. Again, the same aggravating sights of the soldiers playing with the settlers there. Ofra takes photos of the desecrated graves next to the disputed house.
We're back, and back to the grocery – and the police already awaits us there. A fierce argument evolves between us and the illustrious policeman Ephraim Kremshnitt, concerning "how the public order is to be maintained in Hebron" – violence against us, and a blind-eye towards the settlers' deeds. Basem tells us that yesterday, between 5:30pm and 4:00am, the Disputed House settlers, together with others were busy throwing stones and even shooting – while neither soldiers nor policemen did a thing. The Palestinians have already despaired of the police and didn't even turn to them.
We left Hebron – desperation is horrible – but we cannot allow ourselves to succumb to it.