Sansana, South Hebron Hills, Tarqumiya, Fri 26.9.08, Afternoon
We came to the specific end of seeing how the workers cross back to Palestine after the day's work on Friday, because of complaints regarding particularly long queues and lengthy inspections on the way back to the occupied territories.
11:00 - welcoming us is a new and conspicuous road sign: "We're done! Bon Voyage!" And true enough, the works on the new road are complete. We are not overjoyed by this.
11:20 - On the road up towards Durah Al-Fawwar, at the cab stop, we see a military jeep and decide to stop and see what's up.A moment later a soldier comes and tells us to leave and stand at the junction itself (a hundred metres down the road). We did not respond or speak to him but simply got out of the car. He tells us to get lost because it's area A. I suggest he consult the maps to learn where area A really is. He suggests he kick my face. We ignore him.We stay and talk to the other soldiers, who talk to us out of boredom, as it seems. The bottom line of the conversation with one of them is that maybe we should meet a year hence, after his release. The soldiers maintain stones are being thrown from near the waterhole by the road and that's why they are position here, to watch over. When we leave the jeep follows suite.Generally speaking the road is empty all along.
The new CP by the Humanitarian CP is open, we don't see vehicles crossing.The CP down the road, beyond the Halhul Bridge is shut.
12:30 - pretty deserted, with just a splatter of workers back from the occupied territories. We try to find out some details and this is what we come up with:There are no complaints on the inspection on the way back and we could also verify that the ID of workers going back to the occupied territories is not inspected.Many workers are carrying vegetables, fruit, building material. Everything is allowed through without inspection.The workers confirm that morning is inspections are quite efficient, too, usually without special problems.Some workers say that some passes are confiscated arbitrarily and that, sometimes, workers might find themselves being told that their pass is no longer valid at the CP.
All is well at the grocery. The store keeper says that a week ago some soldiers (officers) came and took down the details of everybody living to the east of the road - name, ID, telephone number, and left. They didn't explain why they were doing so.
We await the man who we promised to meet so that he can sign the forms requesting entry permission into Israel.
15:00: a few workers stand on the Palestinian side of the CP, waiting for their transpotation vehicles to fill up. The crossing is quick, with no queue or inspection. Here, too, we see workers carrying provisions, taking what ever they can with them, through the tight turnstiles. One worker seeks help for his brother whose pass has been taken. I offer my phone number.
The workers complain that the road below Tene Omarim is blocked, considerably stretching their drive to and from work. They ask us to convey a letter on the matter. They know chances are slim, but would still appreciate our doing so.
Over all, there seem to be no special problems at the CP -- only the usual complaints concerning the inability to get food supplies and work tools across, and the usual despair about the occupation and the hard times.