Sansana (Meitar Crossing), South Hebron Hills, Susiya
The Meitar checkpoint was slightly less pressured this week but there were more than usual numbers trying to enter without permits, grabbing rides where they could. Some 60 "illegals" were arrested or detained. Route 60 was very busy - really bad driving, people exceeding the speed limit, overtaking on a solid line etc. We went to the village of Hursa, where a checkpoint has been set up (since about 2017) in front of the community/village hall. The hall was used for weddings, parties, cultural events but also as an informal meeting place on a daily basis. Now it is closed and the area in front of it some'10-20 meters, is closed off by yellow metal gates with a watchtower at the southern end. The checkpoint actually divides the village in two, so that all the services: medical clinic, civic buildings and shops are on one side while the other is mainly residential. The hall can still be used but now only for public functions and by prior arrangement with the army. Residents told us that at first cars were allowed to pass after an ID check, then passage was limited to pedestrians and now it is closed altogether and pedestrians are required to take a detour of several hundred meters over muddy, unpaved and uneven ground. The checkpoint is in the middle of the village, distance from any major traffic route, distance from any entry point to Israel. The settlement of Nogohot is several kilometers distant from the village and the settlers have a direct route along a paved path. Toufiq, one of the village notables, told us that he is in touch with the local military commander who listens to his complaints sympathetically...but does nothing! Lately a new unit of soldiers has arrived and we were told that they are aggressive and rude to residents, especially girl soldiers who apparently curse them with "very vulgar and gross language." Some soldiers have used the hall for their own parties recently. This checkpoint, like so many, causes untold grief and anger to the local residents, the humiliation and inconvenience are the deliberate policy fo the Israeli Government, implemented by IDF personnel. On the return journey we noted that the nearby village of Abda was still closed.
The photographs show the damage to the taboun/oven at Susiya, including a picture of the blaze taken by a neighbour in real time. The photo that looks like a volcano is of the damaged tarpaulin that covers the oven.