Hebron, Sansana, South Hebron Hills, Tarqumiya, Tue 3.3.09, Morning
At 6:40am, almost all workers are already out, a few Israeli sand tracks parked. Many Palestinian tracks expect the Israeli ones.
Road 60: Hardly any traffic.
Dura El-Fawaar; The Sheep Junction; Shuyukh Hebron: all pillboxes are manner; blockages in place. No military vehicles.
At Bnei-Naim: no more people seen walking through the hills. The bulldozers are rested at the Har Manoach car park (next to the brigade's headquarters). Occupation routine.
Next to the Federman Ranch, a few police cars can be seen. On the news, later at home, I hear that the place was proclaimed "closed military zone."
Hazon David stronghold: the synagogue. By the time we arrive, prayer is over.
The House of Dispute: the cameras have been taken off. The Boarders' Police CP still operates there: the soldiers are inside the booth. The curled wires protecting the Jabri family, right across from the House of Dispute, are still there. There is no evidence that the army will actually let Palestinians use the Zion Route – we were simply optimistic due to the news in the papers, two weeks ago.Basem the grocer tells us that the past week had been quiet.
The Prayers Route: the gate is open; no military presence. On the turn to the Patriarchs' Cave Tomb, right before the Schorr CP – two Boarder Police soldiers "secure" an alley, and at the Schorr CP itself – a Boarder Police Jeep. Quite a few children are on their way to school, turning back almost as they leave: schools are on strike today: Palestinian Teachers have not received their salaries once again.
The Pharmacy CP: there are almost no pedestrians because of the schools' strike – the garbage track's driver complains that they pass there almost ten times a day, but are still asked for their documents every time.
We walk over to the boys' school and, as promised, bring them the phone number for K., head of the District Coordination Office.
On our way back, we meet some Hebroniats who complain of the lack of work and income – they recognize us from the Sansana and Tarqumiya CPs, and hope that we may be able to help them get some work. Those occasional encounters with those hardworking folks are so incredibly sad and difficult every time anew.
The soldiers are in their normal positions – one at the Gross crossroad, right across from the wholesale market; another, under the Cordoba school's stairway, at the entrance to the Avraham Avinu Neiborhood. Hebron seems deserted and there are almost no people around.
Tel Rumeydah CP: no children; strike, and the soldiers don't stop anyone.
Tarpat CP: the photos we've taken, of the instructions for the CP, have had there effect and are no longer there. One wonders whether those instructions have also been altered or whether this is mere deceit, assuring that their racism is not exhibited to civilian eyes.
The Patriarchs' Tomb Cave CP: no detainees. The blockage next to the Harsina Hill – hand-driven wagons busy transferring the goods.
Traffic flows, Palestinian traffic as well.
The Olive Pathway: open.
Humanitarian CP: pillbox is manned.
Idna-Tarqumiya junction: pillbox is manned. Here, too, there is almost no traffic, or people.
At the tracks' parking area, only five tracks are parked and the bottleneck jam seems to have been opened. There was a meeting between the tracks' owners and the CP's manager on the 24/02/09 and it appears some things were resolved.
At 9:00am, there's a line of around 30 people still waiting, annoyed and stressed. They claim to be waiting there for over an hour already. This is an unreasonable hour for such a queue – we've never seen anything like it there, at this time of day. As it turns out, these are workers who arrived late, and at the CP prisoners' family visitors were given priority and checked up first. But those two buses have already moved on and we can't see why they are still held up there. With a single phone call (to the CP's manager) we've managed to get the line moving – so why wait for us? This is really annoying!
When we walk through the CP, we are held up for a check up. No dog sniffs our transit car – it's busy sniffing three other cars – but we are interrogated as to the contents of the car, what we bought, whether we transferred any letters or received any gifts. The usual questions asked at the security check, at the airport. Boarder control, after all… it doesn't take too much time, but is rather amusing and it seems to us that they may have been alerted to our arrival, and were therefore held up for a more thorough check up than usual. This is the first time we've had to undergo such a thing.