South Hebron Hills
We heard several things at Meitar Checkpoint, talking to people – some of whom were very bitter:
- Entry-into-Israel permits are not being issued to merchants, because of Covid-19.
- People aged 55 and up, who usually do not need permits, are not allowed through for fear of Covid-19.
- Gate 11 for (pedestrians) is available and quite a few people take advantage of it.
Today we decided to visit the Palestinian Authority schools and see how they were faring. The first we visited was the school at Zinuta. A new principal has replaced our friend F., and he was glad to make our acquaintance. We had coffee and heard the following: This school has 30 children and 6 faculty – the principal, the janitor, and 4 women teachers. For the past two months, the children have been studying in capsules of 15 each, for 3 hours, from 8 a.m. until 11 a.m., and then from 12 noon until 3 p.m. The PA has allotted funds for planting a lawn and a garden. Although there's a shortage of classroom space, they do not build new classrooms for fear of demolition by the Civil Administration. The garden retains the grounds.
The second school we visited was Challenge 13 in Simiya, where we witnessed to repeated demolitions and the struggle against the Civil Administration. It has been established by our friend F. and is run by a new principal, a young woman with perfectly fluent English. She demanded that we show her a pass issued by the PA, she would not let anyone in the school without one. The children have been studying there for months in one capsule because there are only 19 children attending the school. This school too has a synthetic lawn purchased for it by the Palestinian Ministry of Education.
The last school we visited was the boys' school Al Ibrahimiya. A., our old acquaintance, came to greet us. He is the school's janitor. He told us that the children were studying in capsules of 15, throughout the whole school day. However, they attend school on alternating days of the week.
There are hardly any Covid-19 cases in his neighborhood. It's always nice to speak with children who do not know Israelis of our kind.
Despair is born of poverty that is more hopeless than ever, and occupation has crossed the lines, as has the pandemic. Altogether - despair wins.