Hebron, Sansana, South Hebron Hills, Thu 27.11.08, Morning
6:30: On the Israeli side of the parking lot, many workers await transportation. The Palestinian side is empty.
Samoa'h, Abado, Karme – open. Daharia – still closed. Why? This is so arbitrary -- just to make it (still!) more difficult.
Dura Alfawwar – open. Lively traffic of people and vehicles at the junction. Many pupils, among them very young, walk alongside the roads to school: the distances are often very long and it is so dangerous.
Many children and still more military forces. A military Jeep at the Pharmacy CP. When we arrive, with the car, at Shuhada St., opposite Hadassah House, a police vehicle instructs us to stop. The policeman claims that the place is closed by military edict, authorized by a major-general. We ask to be shown the edict. He orders us to head on to the police station next to the Patriarchs' Tombs Cave and says that he will show it to us there. He insists that A., our driver, turn around on the spot, on this narrow street, which is hardly wide enough to accommodate two cars – what's more, his police van is parked on the side, and the sun is blazing behind. Absolute horror. We ask him to allow us to turn around at the Tarpat CP, close by, but he's adamant.
On the landing, just in front of the Patriarchs' Tomb Cave, the policeman presents us with 16 different edicts issued on 2.11.08, and authorizing the application of a closed military zone edict to various routes throughout Hebron; none of them specifies any time limit. The edicts apply an order issued on October 2006 and expiring, May 2009. It goes without saying that while we were in the area, a public bus was allowed in – into a 'closed military zone'!! – without being checked at all.
All attempts to communicate with the two policemen positioned there proved futile. They were extremely aggressive and rude (their names are on record). An attempt to communicate with the officer in charge failed as well (rejected with endless, different excuses).
The gist of our complaints:
- A "closed military zone" edict must be accompanied by clear reference to the dates of its application. Otherwise, it is implied that the entire area is closed from 02.11.08, indefinitely.
- If this is the case, though, how can so many visitors be allowed in on the weekends (re. the Sabbath of "Hayei Sarah" – "the life of Sarah) – moreover, how do public buses get in (as we've witnessed!)?
In the course of our conversation, one of the policemen casually disclosed the truth: "left-activists are not allowed – people with tags." If the legal standing of those edicts, and their validity, could be examined, it might be helpful to future (MW) shifts.
The House of Dispute: A multitude of police and borders' police in situ. They are actually quite polite and pleasant. There is no military presence (although there may be some on the roof). The matter of the area being a closed military zone is not mentioned at all. The policeman insists on accompanying us downhill, apparently wishing to protect us against the House's residents who swarm ahead of him. Erased graffiti scribbling on the Mosque near-by, and the star of David drawn on some of the tomb stones in the Muslim cemetery across the road. One is left pondering how reactions would have been if it were the other way round -- with Muslim symbols scribbled on tombstones in a Jewish cemetery…
We didn't go to Basm's grocery, not wanting to arrive there under police escort.