חברון, תרקומיא, יום ד' 24.7.13, בוקר
Translator: Charles K.
We decided to go through the Tarqumiyya crossing, which was closer to our route. Because it was later in the morning, we knew we wouldn’t see the laborers going through, but we wanted to speak with Zion or with Dudi, who are in charge of what goes on there (this is certainly not our first attempt to have an influence). Since they weren’t here today, Alexi spoke to us. He was willing to listen patiently to what we had to say, replied that they operate in accordance with military orders to move all the laborers through by 07:00. A number of Palestinians witnessed the discussion; after Raya encouraged them to speak one of them, Nur, who has a carpentry shop in Tarqumiyya, spoke freely, saying that the people in charge here are fine, but most of the women staffing the booths behave badly, work slowly, are disrespectful (to say the least), derogatory and harass people crossing – they’re the problem. We suggested that staff should be better trained and supervised. We exchanged phone numbers with Nur in order to follow up.
The Worshippers Route is closed at one end and open at the other.
We walked to ‘Abed’s shop, opposite the Cave of the Patriarchs, because a few days ago he’d telephoned Raya to complain that a new officer on site prevents tourists from passing his store, which hurts his business. He says the DCO officer (Avi Biton?) wants to help but the problem hasn’t yet been solved, and only a few tourists reach him.
A small group of people from various countries sit with a guide from Bethlehem.
As we were going through Tel Rumeida a military vehicle stopped, the lieutenant got out to find out who we were (ID card) and to talk: What are we doing, what’s our opinion about the soldiers here, what – given our experience – do we think can be improved... In short, it was refreshing to meet such an officer. May there be many more like him.
(It’s hard to believe, but on our way back the woman in the booth made do with our IDs and didn’t send us for additional inspection of the car’s contents, as they’ve done here in the past. Has something changed so quickly?)