Hakvasim (sheep) Junction, Sansana (Meitar Crossing), South Hebron Hills
A particularly heavy day at the Meitar checkpoint between Israel and the West Bank - unusual pressure even for a Sunday morning which is always crowded. A number of mainly older men who tried to enter Israel without permits are detained under police cover. We note 3 buses on the Israel side waiting to take family members to visit their loved ones in prison. They are only allowed to enter Israel after the labourers have crossed, usually by 07:00.
Route 60 is very busy, all the internal checkpoints along the route are closed and staffed by the military: Dahariya, Abda, Al Fawwar and Dura, Beith Hagai and the Sheep crossing as well as Bani Naim suffer from long queues as the cars are checked one by one. A few detainees at one of the entrances to Hebron (opposite the sheep crossing) but they are soon released. We wonder if this is a policy decision by the army to avoid groups of detainees as are seen at some of the larger checkpoints, which would require the military to keep soldiers visibly in the field for longer periods, but we don't know for sure. Route 317 is relatively busy (usually it is almost deserted). Development going ahead at Carmel and Sussia and other settlements along the route. The herdsmen are taking advantage of the lush grass that sprang up after the rains because it saves them huge sums that would otherwise go to purchasing fodder for their flocks. However, from our point of view it means that our contacts are out in the pasture and not available. Meanwhile every little corner of land is used for crops: wheat, vegetables and fruit trees in sharp contrast to the concrete buildings of the settlements. At the Meitar checkpoint, some of the so-called illegals are still detained under visible police supervision.