Hebron, Sansana, South Hebron Hills, Tarqumiya, Tue 19.5.09, Morning

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Michal Ts., Hagit B. (reports)

Translation: Bracha B.A.

06:30 - 10:00
06:45 the workers who are coming across exit immediately without delay.  Two bus loads of prisoners' families are waiting to cross.  This border crossing functions without problems.  It is difficult only to see the architecture of evil that exists here.

Road 60
It is now possible to enter the village of Dir Razak – the roadblock has been left in place for historical reasons, or perhaps for re-closing the entrance in the future, but a side road has been paved.  |The villagers can now drive on Road 60 to Dura El Fawar, where traffic flows and the pillbox is manned.  Underneath Beit Hagai – the gray gate that is always closed is open today by the army.  It’s important to continue to follow and a lot of Palestinian taxis are taking advantage of the opening and are going through.  One of the drivers tells us that the army forgot to close the gate.  The gate has only been open since this morning and they will undoubtedly close it again soon. 
The pillbox at the Sheep's Crossing is manned, and traffic is flowing. 
At Shuyuh-Hebron pedestrians cross from one side to the other and traffic is heavy.

The talk about opening the Tzion route which the Palestinians call the Avraham Road is only lip service since nothing has been opened, and since another two checkpoints have been put up that are operated by the border police.  One gets the feeling that the siege around the Palestinian neighborhoods has not been made easier, but rather been intensified.

Patriarchs' Hill [Givat Ha’avot]:
Another tall watchtower with an Israeli flag flying proudly above it has been put up along the fence that separates the Givat Ha’avot Neighborhood and the Palestinian neighborhood.
The House of DisputeThe jeep from the border patrol that was parked on the road under the House of Contention has not been here for a week.  Things are now easier for people and they are no longer detained.  Anyone going up via the House of Contention is sometimes detained by the border police.
160 Curve CP: Border police soldiers do not detain the children who are crossing to go to school.  Two girls in wheelchairs are pushed by their friends.  The chairs are old and worn and the sight is hard to watch.  On our way back we see one of the soldiers returning an ID card to one of the detaineesinfo-icon.  It is already after 8:00 and there is almost no pedestrian traffic.
The Pharmacy CP: The gatesinfo-icon and fences have been painted orange, and another watchtower has been put up above the caravan and another on the side.  Children are crossing without being checked, but occasionally soldiers from the border patrol detain people.  One of them  - a  technology teacher at the Al Ibrahima School - tells us that it is a shameful that the children see him being detained.  The school assistant tells us that children are not being checked because we are present.  Some of the older children use the checkpoint as an excuse to be late for school, and the assistant comes to call them.  Kids will be kids…
Patriarchs' Tombs' Cave CP: Five detainees were released the moment we arrived.  The loudspeakers from the Gutnik Center blare out Hassidic music and the shops are still closed.
Tarpat CP, Tel Romeida CP: People pass through without any problems and no one is being detained.  In the Tel Romeida neighborhood above in back of the Chabad Cemetery a lot of girls are walking to school in the H1 area.  My interpretation of this is that to attend the Kordova School is now a political statement and obligation. 
Givat Haharsina CP Note! – the name must be changed: from now on the checkpoint should be called by the Palestinian name “the Kafisha Neighborhood Checkpoint”.  Kafisha is a large family of 800 people who bought a plot of land twenty years ago.  The border police is now building something on it and has uprooted the trees that were there and cleared the area.  It is not clear what is going to happen there.  The plot was used by the Kafisha family as a storeroom for materials for their factors that manufactures fireplaces and solar heaters which is on the opposite side of the road.  We gave them our phone numbers in order to let us know what happens – and we gave them the contact details for M. from Yesh Din so that they would learn the facts, verify them, and see how they could be helped and learn why the army confiscated their plot.This time we exited Hebron without encountering Anat and Ofer – a great personal relief – but the Palestinians still suffer from them and from other like them.
Road 35
Everything is as usual – all the checkpoints are in place.  All the crossings that were open are still open and all the pillboxes are manned.
Idna-Tarqumyia: A sheep was run over on the road by two Palestinian cars the compensation is NIS 1000 for the dead sheep .  Aside from that everything on the road is as usual.
Tarqumyia: We counted 30 trucks from the Palestinian side and the same number on the Israeli side.  The waiting time was the same in both directions.  At the crossing itself the dog handlers appear to be resting and no cars are checked.  The parking lot is full of Palestinian cars and there are no family visits [to prisoners] today and we heard no complaints about the crossing of workers in the morning.