Dura-Al Fawwar Junction, Hakvasim (sheep) Junction, Sansana (Meitar Crossing), South Hebron Hills

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Yehudit K (reporting), M.D.

The Meitar checkpoint is jammed and many people, legal and illegal manage to circumvent it.  Staffed checkpoints at Dura, Al Fuwwar, the sheep crossing and Beit Hagai.

We went to the Metsudat Yehuda checkpoint near the settlement of Beit Yatir and visited the compound of our friend Mahmoud Abu Qbeita. As reported here in the past, the 
Abu Qbeita family are trapped in the seam zone between Israel and Area C. Any movement in and out of their compound requires passing the checkpoint and only registered persons can visit them, such as family members. On the face of it, things are going well in spite of the mobility restrictions: Mahmoud has married off two sons (out of 11 children) and has a grandchild, he is also building an extension to his house. In the past there were frequent problems with Beit Yatir, which sits right on top of the Abu Qbeita compound but Mahmoud says he has made a contact in the settlement and this helps to solve most disputes by diplomatic means. However, it soon transpires that all is not so wonderful: one of the guards at the checkpoint with all family members pass through daily, including the younger children, consistently harasses them and not only delays them but subjects them to detailed searches of their belongings, to the extent of poking his fingers into the rice sacks or the melons.  Not only that: one of the daughters who is married and lives in the town of Yatta nearby. When her permit to enter Israel expired and she went to renew it in order to be able to visit her family she was told that she is "proscribed" and no reason given.  Whereas Mahmoud formerly owned 300 head of sheep, his herd is now reduced to 100 because of the reduction in pasture in the area, whether because of building by the Israeli government, the setting aside of huge areas for firing zones and military training grounds.  The cost of fodder for the sheep is very high and thus sheep raising is no longer sustainable.  God is great! as Mahmoud says but the threat, real and feared of demolition and expulsion hangs over them.