Hebron, Sansana, South Hebron Hills, Tarqumiya, Mon 6.4.09, Morning
the checking lane is empty, and all have gone through smoothely. Many sand-tracks download sand, while Palestinian tracks await on the other side. Two cars are being checked on the vehicles' lane with dogs, sniffing. All in all, passage seems to be really orderly and, thinking of the horrifying stories I here of the Kalkiliya CP, I wonder why they can't work there, as they do here, at Meytar. At the time the Sansana CP started operating, there were some such events which we have evidenced, but these were then resolved through the good will and attendance of Shlomi, the CP's manager. No one seems to be having any complaints at present.
Tarqumiya: there are many tracks, waiting in the parking lot, built where the old CP was. It seems that there are more tracks than the usual, perhaps because of the coming holiday and the expected closure, as of tonight. On the vehicles' lane, there are six cars awaiting checkup by dogs and mirrors at 6:30am. The workers passed through with no special problems this morning.
Traffic flows through smoothly. All blockages are in place. All pillboxes are manner, and there is much more Palestinian traffic than there normally is – almost no military vehicles to be seen. The South Hebron Mount regional council (Moatzah ezorit) put up flags of Israel and of the council itself at all junctions, as if the Palestinian villages are not there. As David Grossman put it in his book "The Yellow Time", this is what it meant by being "present-absent", and with the current government it will surely become still more pronounced. Bnei Naim: the blockages positioned on the internal road are now gone and indeed, Palestinian cares leave the villeage and get onto road 60 – what a refreshing change!
This difficult city is quieter today and tension seems to have eased down just now, but evil can still be seen everywhere, and the acrimonious wave of malice brought in here by the settlers can rise any moment. While we are there, children walk to schools all around us. Preparations for the opening of the route leading from Kiryat Arba to the Patriarchs' Tomb's Cave to Palestinian traffic are evident. On the side of the Harsina Hill, a new pillbox was put up – it is lower and wider than what we got used to – it seems as if, once this route is opened for traffic, soldiers will be positioned there, to check the cars. On the other side, too, next to the Schorr CP, the great concrete blocks were removed and a similar pillbox was placed. In the other tiny alley ways, there are now many more concrete blocks, to block traffic – all vehicles will have to pass through the main route – "Zion Route".
Bassem the grocer shows us where the Palestinian cars' windows have been smashed. The place is right next to the prayers' route, going from the direction of Kiryat Arba, where the southward-facing Pillbox is positioned. This is why we believe this pogromchik was executed by people from Hebron as well as Kiryat Arba.
As we stand talking to Basem, next to his grocery, Border Police soldiers who are positioned on a permanent basis under the House of Dispute approach us (as if to protect us). Talking to them very briefly, all that we hear from the Palestinians about them is confirmed. Every Palestinian is to them a potential threat and menace, which is why they order them order them from afar to raise their shirt and turn round. And no, they don't make them stick to the wall, but yes, it is here, precisely, that they protect/guard the state of Israel. We didn't pursue the talk, as we didn't want to have them stick for too long next to Bassem who, in his usual kindness, immediately invited them over for coffee.
When we left, they left too. And the usual question remains open – until where/when is our presence helpful, and where/when does it start to do harm.
Pharmacy CP: although the operational brigade positioned in Hebron just now is the Parachutes' Python Brigade, Brigade 101, this CP is manned by Border Police soldiers right now. When they see us, they become harsher with the children they check up, so we left quickly, leaving the overseas peace activities to look over. All in all, it seemed as if the children passed though rather quickly and smoothly.
Avraham Avinu Neighborhood CP: parachuters there – no Palestinians and the same purple signpost of instructions is placed there – explaining that they are there to safeguard the state of Israel, etc. – but this time, with no racist addenda. A settler passing close-by mutters: "those radical-leftists, seeking to provoke"… we buy some excellent Hebornite pitas and the seller says "no earning, no earning". It is sad and difficult to live in this side of Hebron.
Patriarchs' Tomb Cave CP: no detainees and stores, still shut down.
Tel Rumeidah CP: the soldiers at the booth, checking no one. Children run down the street. We see no police van, and TIF policemen park their van under the stairs leading up to the Cordoba school.
Tarpat CP: Parachutes' soldiers man the CP, and while we were there, children pass through and unchecked. Only one youngster, who goes over H2 area is asked to pull his shirt up.
While we are still there, K., deputy-commander of the local Laison and Coordination Admin. arrives for a casual check-up visit and we talk business to him –referring him to the boys' school, to Ibrahimia and their anxieties as regards the pharmacy CP into a public square. He promises us that he will go there to talk to them, and says they've never approached him themselves. We reiterate the Palestinians' difficulties in approaching the LCA, and their obligation to become much more attendant and approachable – being the government/rulership here. We tall him of the Palestinians' anxiety concerning the opening of the Zion Route and their fear that this is merely another means for Israel to rule over them. As we speak, a bearded and bespectacled settler in a red car stops next to us and stares at us with a menacing look, muttering "traitors!!" K and his deputy L. are not struck by the fierce hatred – "they've come to provoke!" the settler shouts at them. We ask K to ensure that the information regarding the manner in which the route (Zion) will be opened will be made available to each and every resident, and not merely through Palestinian public officials but also through their media. He says he'll try to do so.
That's it – nothing more to say of Hebron today.