Hebron, Sansana, South Hebron Hills, Tue 24.2.09, Morning
Summary: all blockages to the village of Bnei-Naim have been uplifted. All blockages on village entries along Road 356 have been uplifted, too – that's why many more Palestinian cars can now be seen on this road.
Workers pass with no hustle – there are very few on the checking lane while we are there. The tracks download sand and, as we watch, three buses and a minibus arrive, for prisoners' families' visits.
On our way back they are already gone, proving that passage was quick. On our way back, dogs sniff a car belonging to an Israeli-Arab. But this, too, takes hardly five minutes.
Contrary to Thursday's curfew at Dura el-Fawaar and the Sheep's junction, today all is open – pillboxes are manned as usual, and young children walk to school.
Bnei-Naim: at the entry to the vineyard belonging to the settler and ex-Jewish-underground convict, Menachem Livni, blockages have been uplifted, too. This is the time and place for Israeli traffic police to impose the law on taxi drivers' – three taxis whose drivers did not have their seats-belts fastened were detained there. Fines are as usual, only they can now be paid in Palestinian Hebron as well. Drivers told us that blockages have been lifted up on Sunday and today was the first time they've seen the police van there – they must get used to fastening their seat-belts again.
At the Hazon-David illegal oupost (below the Patriarchs' Hill neighborhood, right across from the yellow gate) – prayer still goes on in earnest, almost two minyans (twenty people).
On the Zion Route – an apartheid road which was supposed to be opened to Palestinian traffic – there is no change. We are still expecting better times.
The concrete blocks and barbed wires strewn opposite the House of Dispute are in place, as usual. And so, too, is the House of Dispute CP, manned by Borders Police soldiers.
Basem the grocer tell us that it's quiet now.
The Prayers' Route: the grey gate is open; no soldiers.
At the Schor junction (so say the scribbling on the concrete blocks), at the turn right before the Patriarchs' Tomb Cave, the 'permanent' Borders Police Jeep is positioned. The soldiers circle it, watching the children – very many of them – walk along. Many children prefer to circumvent the place and not pass through the Pharmacy CP. Among those who do walk through, two girls in wheelchairs, head to the girls' school.The girls' school's gate is newly painted in white, and there is no trace of the horrible graffiti written there anymore.
Pharmacy CP: demonstrations take place on the Palestinian side of this CP every Friday now; three weeks ago, a 15yrs old Palestinian was shot dead here. Since then, it was decided that this CP will be manned by Borders Police soldiers.
The boys' school's janitor says that, since they are positioned there, the boys are no longer late to school. He also tells us that there are rumors among Palestinians concerning plans to have a grand square built there, following which the CP is to be removed – he asks us to help arrange a meeting with one of the Hebron Liaison and Cooperation Admin. heads. We see the door installed in the wall for the handicapped boy's passage, and now they want to have another door, opened for him at the school's backside. We talked to the L&C Admin. and they agreed to send someone over to see (social workers). We encounter some policemen there, who ask us about our plans for the day and when should our round be over. TIF people are present there, too.
Tel Rumeydah CP: no checkups.
Tarpat CP: passage is quick, teachers have already gone through.
Abraham Avinu neighborhood CP: we see soldiers detaining three Palestinians children of about 10-11yrs old – we watch from the side: a minute later, the children are allowed to proceed.
Patriarchs' Tombs' Cave: as we arrive, one of the policemen cries out to one of the settlers: "call Ofer, his girlfriends are over for a visit." I ask him why he has to fuel the atmosphere, and he detains a passer-by.We wait there for someone (a Palestinian) with whom we've set a meeting beforehand. When we're done talking to him, the Borders Police soldier releases the detainee and we drive away.
Many more Palestinian cars on the road, probably because of the uplifted blockages.
Pnei Hever: open.
Zif Junction: open.
Everything is open and there is no military presence along the road.
Next to one of the water puddles, a water tanker is pumping water out – suggesting that water shortage is horrific.
Beit Yatir CP: The Abu Baktiyah family still walks through according to the lists supplied by the Liaison & Coordination Admin. The stolen cars' parking lot is increasingly full; the military police's Taoz battalion still mans this CP and construction works for a neighboring military camp are progressing. Standing next to the CP, six illegal workers who were caught and are now expecting the police.