Horsa: "All Jews are settlers" (7-year-old Palestinian girl)

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Mira B. (Report), Mohammed D. (Photos) Marcia L., Translation

Route 60

The parking lots at Meitar Checkpoint are empty.  Workers do not arrive from the occupied territories.  Muhammed says that if this continues, an intifada will break out because the area is burning with anger and frustration.  There is no work, no money, and nothing to live for.


All the entrances to the villages and towns on both sides are blocked except for the entrances to the settlements, the outposts, and obviously to the shepherds’ farms.

The only entrance to the town of Samu`a (east of Route 60) that is officially open, is through the town of Karame.  Whoever lives south of Samu or on the other side of Route 60, has to go around  them, which takes almost an hour.  Therefore, residents are forced to constantly play cat-and-mouse games with the security forces:  They remove mounds of dirt and rocks from the roads, and the military puts them back in place.

On our way north, we saw a truck maneuvering through an opening that opened between mounds of dirt and managed to cross toward Samu'a.  On the way back, there was already an army jeep blocking the entrance. Palestinian vehicles were parked along the highway.  Muhammad said they were waiting for the military jeep to leave so they could pass.


The road west of Route 60 is also blocked by an unmanned checkpoint. In other words, there is no entrance from Route 60. The only entrance is through the Ramadin checkpoint to the south. We saw a heavy tanker climbing a steep dirt path up a hill, probably on the way to Dahariya and it looked scary.

All the Palestinian traffic between the Meitar Checkpoint to Hebron, is conducted in a two-way north-south direction on both sides of Route 60.  The only drop-off point for the road from the east is at Karame.  However, it is impossible to cross to the west with a vehicle. How can you conduct business from two sides of the road? On the western side there is no vehicle entrance.  It is possible either via Ramadin Checkpoint from the south, or using the back-to-back method. 
The tight roadblocks may provide tighter control for security forces  but they make life immeasurably more difficult for the locals and immeasurably increases hostility.


Road 3265 On the Way to Fuqieqis


Fuqieqis is a small village next to this road, near the Ngohot Farms and adjacent to the settlements of Ngohot A and B.  The road is the main thoroughfare between the villages in the area.  It crosses Area A, which is forbidden to Israelis. However, a few years ago, it was already opened to Israelis by the army as a temporary shortcut for the settlers of Ngohot.  For years there have been fights with the court about the ban on Palestinians traveling on this road.


Our goal in visiting today is to bring necessary food to the Jadallah family whose house is on the edge of Fuqieqis, right below the settlement of Fuqieqis. The groceries were bought by the donations that Michal collected.  Since the beginning of the war, the living area of the family has been blocked from every direction.  At the start of the war, it was still possible for them to leave and supply themselves with food and water, but now it is impossible.  Their daughter, Ranya, stays in Dura for work and because of the blockade of Fuqieqis. In order to get supplies, the Jadallah parents arrive on foot to the Beit Awwa Checkpoint.  If they are allowed  to cross, they continue.  The conditions for them to get provisions are always difficult.


We stopped at the grocery store for supplies and felt the enmity towards us. I was afraid.  Mohammed was also stressed.  I hoped that the Machsom Watch identification tag would protect me.  A young local man approached us and tried to have a conversation.  In Hebrew, he asked if I was Jewish, from where in Israel, as if suggesting a can of cola.  The clerk said that he was in an Israeli prison and that he was a hunger striker.  I tried to get closer to Muhammed.  Before we left the grocery store, we bought packages of Crembo (cream-filled chocolate treats) and offered one to a girl about seven, who stood next to the checkout.  She refused.  Mohammed also offered them to her.  She still refused. When we left, Mohammed said that she thought I was a settler and that she said she doesn’t take anything from settlers. A seven-year-old girl is already aware of politics!


Continuing on from Horsa, before the road arrives at the area of Ngohot from the east, there is another checkpoint since the war.  This one is more serious; next to it the area is fortified on the side of the road, and settlers, in army uniforms, operate it with a remote control.  They interrogated us about the purpose of our trip.  It is depressing that we are not able to tell them honestly that we are bringing basic supplies to the Jadallah family whose home is on the outskirts of Fuqieqis.  We tried to maneuver with different excuses, that we made a mistake in traveling, but nothing helped.  They checked if Mohammed was Israeli!  The soldiers claimed that there is an order from the command to let only residents cross to Ngohot because it is a private road. They didn’t show us an order that this was a closed military area.  In the end they didn’t let us cross and forced us to go back in shame.


We returned to Horsa and met with Tewfik, whose shop is just below the checkpoint. After coordinating with Ranya, we transferred all the goods to Tewfik’s car.  He promised us that the supplies will reach their destination.  Hopefully!  They offered us coffee here.

We have known Tewfik for a number of years.  He speaks fluent Hebrew and is well-versed in the politics of the area. Here we also heard about the harshness of the supervision.  They won’t allow the transfer of cellular communication cables that would be connected to telephone poles next to the checkpoint. About the use of Diywan, (the room for public events and celebrations), there is nothing to talk about.  The understandings that they had with the army disappeared before the war and there is no way to renew them.  Tewfik is rooted in Israeli political gossip (for example, the renovations of the Netanyahu’s pool in Caesarea), and obviously, the politics of the war.  He claims that Hamas made a mistake in their actions in the Gaza envelope on 7 October.  In the same breath he denunciates the murder of 50,000 Gazans by Israel.  He doesn’t know of any murdered Jewish children, of physical abuse, and rape.

It is also difficult to almost impossible to see how it is possible to open a two-way conversation of understanding. First we have to take down the limitations that make life difficult and calm the economic situation.