South Hebron Hills, Susiya
South Hebron Hills
Highway 60 to Highway 356, toward Ma’on and Susiya. A flying checkpoint to our right on an unpaved road leading toward Carmel (Karameh). Soldiers inspect a Palestinian vehicle and release it a few minutes later.
A few men – a “parliament” - sit outside the small grocery at Zif junction. They shared in a rising crescendo their thoughts about the mystifying future of the negotiations and their bitterness about the situation. They feel strongly that Israel is undermining Abu Mazen, who’ll be followed by someone much more extreme. Others will tell us the same thing throughout the day.
In a-Tuwani we came across a tour of some 30 Americans from Ohio, members of “People for Human Rights.” We passed the clinic and the kindergarten that’s under construction.
A brief visit: women greeted us, gave us tea. The village muezzin approached to ask where we’re from. We showed him our badge; Hagit read out the Arabic heading. He then went up to pray on the ruins of the mosque.
We continued to Susiya. It was my first visit. We met Azzam, an older man, and Nasser, the younger, who speaks Hebrew well. He lay before us the sagas of expulsions and harassment that repeatedly disrupted the lives of Umm Faqra’s inhabitants, who only wish to continue farming as they have done for generations,to graze their flocks and raise crops… His story echoed far-away memories whose wounds are common.
We drove through Dahariya, colorful and bustling, ending our tour buying vegetables from a stand at the Dura al Fawwar junction.
On our way back to Tarqumiya we saw they’d closed the southern entrance to Bani Naim.
Though the woman in the booth at Tarqumiya crossing was suspicious we weren’t delayed for long.