Hebron, Sansana, South Hebron Hills, Tarqumiya, Tue 18.11.08, Morning
6:40: a short line at the checking lane and two buses of prisoners' families; everything flows as usual and no one has any complaints. We are told that traffic is heavier only on Sundays and that the wait then is a bit longer. The guard at the pillbox knows the Red Cross escort by name, and they talk.
On the back-to-back goods transfer lane there are already seven trucks on either side – the gate opens at 7:00.
Samo'a – main entrance is open.
Dahariya – taxis are waiting on both sides of the stone blockages. More Palestinian traffic on the road.
Dura Alfawwar – two border control jeeps by the pillbox, perhaps because of what I read on ynet later, when i was back home: "IDF forces have arrested 32 Palestinian wanted suspects throughout the west bank. In Elfawwar, south of Hebron, there were 20 such arrests and two dismantled hunting rifles and scores of bullets were found. IDF reports that all suspects have been transferred for interrogation to the security forces."
Sheep Junction: Pillbox is manned, and traffic flows.
Today we have won the great honor of being escorted by the police for the duration of our shift: we were stopped already at the curve, entering the southern part of Kiryat Arba, next to the Federman Farm. Our identity cards had all been taken, in order to check whether to allow us in. There is no "closed military zone" edict and legally, they cannot prohibit our entry, so permission was granted but therewith, also the instruction to escort us.
This is a rather unwanted pleasure. Palestinians refrain from talking to us in the presence of the police and we, too, do not stop by, at Basm's grocery.
Pharmacy CP – children walk through quickly with their bags, mostly unchecked.
Tarpat CP – yesterday, there was a road accident there, and the police asks us not to park there. But there are no people there, and only a more orderly shack above the soldiers' heads, and the CP as a whole.
Tel Rumeida CP – back to how it was before – no one is detained. The children's bags are not checked as before.
The Disputed House – at the CP there are borders control policemen, checking whoever walks past. They tell us they are positioned there only from 6am to 10pm. At all other times, the soldiers who protect these outlaws are responsible for this CP as well.
The wire protecting the Palestinian house immediately opposite the disputed house is now higher – they have good reason to fear those lunatics.
It transpires that the camera positioned on top of the house was put there by the military in order to photograph the Palestinians who threw stones at the house… as if it's not just the opposite – as if it's not the settlers who sour the Palestinians' lives. I just don't understand why they are at all protected, if their stay here is illegal.
In the house itself, there are no evident preparations for a pull-out/evacuation -- while we're there, four military jeeps arrive, and it turns out that the settlers have painted a Magen David on the mosque next to the disputed house which the soldiers have now come to wipe clean. That's it, nothing is done or said to the settlers, but every Palestinian who walks by is stopped and checked.
Apart from that, it seems as if Hebron has quieted down.
More Palestinian traffic on the road.
Humanitarian CP – open; pillbox, manned.
Olive passage – open.
Halhul-Hebron Bridge: traffic flows and pillbox manned.
Tarqumiya-Idna – pillbox is manned. Traffic flows. The owner of the olive-oil press is in a bad mood – their family was not allowed to harvest the olives in the groves, where they have the right to do so, but no ownership – all because of procedural reasons. The olives will stay on, and fall off, and there will be no living out of them – this is how it is when one is not one's own master.
The scanner story – we meet with Yoram, deputy chief of the CP and with a few workers and here are the facts:
- Truck drivers do not go through the scanner
- Scanner is located where cars are checked along road 35. They checkthe drivers coming from eastern Jerusalem, bringing workers back, but only those drivers who, following the normal check, are found carrying something suspicious. The drivers couldn't care less for the workers they drive. They charge hefty sums for driving them to their work places and oppose any attempts to organize public transport to the CP.
- Dogs do not sniff inside the cars, but only from the outside.
- Due to the drivers' insistent refusal to be checked, the workers are thereby delayed and are late to work. Anyway, there seems to be one particular driver who causes most of the trouble and who, whenever he has some change in his pockets, is suspected for carrying some metal tool and is sent to the scanner.
- Because of the talk with the workers, I tend to believe Yoram and his men this time, rather than the Palestinian who woke me up at 5:45am.