Hebron, Sansana, South Hebron Hills, Wed 21.5.08, Morning

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Michal Z, Hagit B (reporting)

0630 – 1045

Meitar Crossing (Sansana)
06:20 – no workers, all have passed. Whoever comes now passes without problems. Till now, 600 workers have crossed.
Route 60
Works on the road to Shim’a settlement are almost complete – the road is wonderful – to the glory of the Israeli occupation!!! Slightly more Palestinian taxis, children on their way to school.
Karame – gate removed. We though how nice, came closer – and in place of the gate an earth mound and concrete blocks.
Dura al-Fawwar – traffic flowing, pillbox manned.
Sheep junction – open for traffic. We thought it would be free, what a delight... but a opillbox has been built there (See photo). The taxis from the direction of Yatta are still there, none from Hebron, but the traffic is flowing. Quite a few cars and people are satisfied.
For clarification: it was possible until now to enter Hebron a number of ways. From the south – via Dura; from the north – through Halhoul and then Halhoul-Hebron Bridge; from the west – Tarqumiya and Beit Kahil. Now also from the east – through the Sheep Junction. But all the other entrances are still blocked by earth mounds, concrete blocks and gatesinfo-icon.
The rolling checkpoint at Shuyukh - Sair has apparently become "permanent rolling." Soldiers and Border Police alternate – when we are there soldiers sitting in a jeep – and Border Police always stopping pedestrians for checks.
Route 35
Completely deserted – all the blocks in place. Soldiers at al Jura Checkpoint (the Humanitarian Checkpoint) dismantling a temporary checkpoint.
Idhna - Tarqumiya – at a grocery store we are told that there are no problems in the workers’ passing this morning; at the commercial crossing, where the check is more thorough, all kinds of goods don’t receive approval – for example, sacks of coffee. It has been some time since they did a rolling checkpoint – and it seems that people got used to that life.
Routes 317 - 356
Pney Chever-Bene Naim Checkpoint – open.
Zif Junction – open, and all the other blocks still in place. The pillboxes are manned. We are the only ones on the road. At Carmel settlement the roof has been installed on the new synagogue. In the Zif Junction grocery we meet the people from the Palestinian Ministry of Health – who are very happy about the opening of Sheep Junction.
Tomb of Patriarch’s Checkpoint – no detaineesinfo-icon.
Pharmacy Checkpoint – satchels of first and second grade schoolchildren being checked.
Tarpat Checkpoint – passing quickly – no problems.
Tel Rumeida Checkpoint – stopping everyone and checking them (See photo).
Disputed House – no detainees.
Porcelain Hill – no detainees; military jeeps at the road junctions, soldiers inside – Hebron appears empty and abandoned as usual.
Hebron Stories
* With A., our driver, we went up to the police station to bring the punctured tires from his Transit, as proof of the crimes of the settlers (see Hebron, 25.4.08). By chance we met the commandant of police. Transpires that they will not use against us any more the GOC’s closed military area order. He apologised that we were asked to leave on the eve of Remembrance Day, and for the fact that the police did not defend us. (A. afterwards said "they are good only at talking.")
* Bassam from the grocery store told the following story (corroborated by photos):
last Saturday the settlers complained to soldiers that a Palestinian child tried to stab a settler child with a knife. All this at the neighborhood next to the Disputed House. The army – at least 15 soldiers – went with three settlers, two men and a woman, from house to house in an attempt to identify the child. In each house they put the children up against a wall and checked whether they had knives on them. All this was done by the army – not the police. When Musa from Btselem tried to photograph , he was hit in the face by a settler. The settlers did not identify any child – and, after six hours, the search was stopped.
Imagine the reverse – the army takes three Palestinians house to house among the settlers, places the children against the wall in an attempt to identify...
The story will be passed on to the media by Btselem.
We have not yet written about the despair – it is self evident – in every inch of this terrible experience. [L]