Hebron, South Hebron Hills, Zif Junction

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Paula, Yael Z.; Translator: Natanya

We went in the footsteps of the question where Israel invests the money which should go to the handicapped, the old, and to the poverty stricken in Israel. We found a partial reply.  Route 358 follows the separation fence that was recently replaced by the wall. Opposite kibbutz Lahav at the top of  the hill lives 70 families in the settlement of Eshkolot. The settlement belongs to the Hebron Regional Council, but they were annexed to Israel when the concrete wall was forced to twist around the mountain on which the settlement is located, to add dozens of kilometers of concrete to the cost of the fence so as to  form an enclave. 

We went east to the settlement of Negohot' which is surrounded by fences and gatesinfo-icon, and neighbors the beautiful village of Khursa. In the stores of Khursa, residents of Negohot buy their food, there has never been any hostile activity there  but this year it was decided to set up a pillbox in the heart of Khursa

This is right next to the local council building. More millions of shekels are invested in this project for which the reason is not clear. The pillbox is standing, a fence is still needed around it, it is sensitive to injury and therefore it is guarded by five soldiers, including two women combatants s who sit on the roof of the building opposite.

The procedure of the straw widow (commandeering private houses for the army's use) was supposed to end today, but the soldiers are still on the roof, lying for four days under the shade net without minimal conditions for sleep and toilet, burdening the family whose kitchen is under the stairs of  the roof. Meanwhile the men of the family are unemployed, sitting in the shade of the vines and waiting for the army to evacuate. Who would buy in a store on the ground floor with the big brother peering down.

Hebron, too, is becoming a fortified object: every checkpoint is encircled by a fence to make the soldiers more protected from the threats they themselves have created. The neighborhood that began to erupt east of the Tomb of the Patriarchs was cordoned off. The residents have to leave through one gate that overlooks the guard soldiers. More millions invested to calm the occupier's fears.

Abed as usual greets us with coffee and a smile. From there we march to the closed marketplace and Shuhada Street. Only the children with soup pots come back from the cave, some tourists take pictures, and some soldiers running to keep up their physical fitness are in the streets.

The soldiers guarding the stairs to the Cordoba school are happy to hear that we are from Be'er Sheva and a conversation is developing until Anat Cohen's car appears. The window is open and she swears. And then we were given a special escort for very important people - we head on foot and she follows us, when we stop too she stops, occasionally cursing, and when we come back she follows us, photographing us and cursing us. It seems we are really important.

On the way back the roads are empty, we stop at the grocery store at the Zif Junction to take comfort in something sweetץ.