Hebron, South Hebron Hills, Tarqumiya, Wed 24.9.08, Morning
Tarqumiya Crossing is quiet.
The CP at the western entrance to Hebron, past the bridge, is open and no soldiers are present.
To the south of the Humanitarian CP there's a closed yellow gate. The road is open.
Shuyuch Hebron is blocked as always. The Girls' School seems quiet.
On the road to the Patriarchs' Tombs Cave many schoolchildren walk to school. There are no blocks.
At the Pharmacy CP children walk through the caravan for inspection.
On the Shuhada Road there are quite a few soldiers and children on the way to school.
At Tel Rumeida small children are being checked one at a time, opening schoolbags they carry on their chests or tummies rather than on their backs. It is evident that they are used to the procedure and accept it (meekly?). Virtually no one goes through without inspection.
Two Swedish Church representatives tell us that only two of the five soldiers permanently positioned at the junction were doing their job of checking passers by and it took their intervention to put two more into action. Then the queue started moving at a better pace, but why aren't these standing orders?
We had an unpleasant exchange with the soldiers who were amusing themselves by telling jokes about the passers by and one of them was haranguing against Arabs in general.
The five soldiers stationed at Tarpat CP look almost bored.
The path leading to the glass factory is blocked. That's new!
On our way back. we see three detainees and a military jeep by Tarqumiya and stop to find out what's happening. One of the three has no ID card. They came by way of the mountains. They are checked and released.
The soldiers explain that there is a warning of infiltration through the fence so they're checking everyone. All but one of the soldiers are on reserve service, so they know what's what and are performing well. The exception is a scout in the regular army (those who sign on after their compulsory three years).