Hebron: Arms of a Jewish octopus are spreading in the city

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Hagit Back (report, photos) with Mohammad

Road 60 is quiet. Large broadening works are being made near Jerusalem. Soldiers along both its sides are watching over them.

At the turnoff to Kalkes and Hebron, Palestinian workers are building an army gate, watched over by Israeli soldiers. Huge Israeli flags wave on an additional hill near Beit Hagai – on Gal Hill, near the industrial zone, and on the hill opposite the Neve Mamre neighborhood of Kiryat Arba colony (what the colonists have named Mitzpe Avichai).

The sign ‘House of Resurrection’ has been blown away by the wind, but a soldier stands guard there. He says this is now another army post and they are keeping the colonists out.

On the other side of the road we speak with F., who tells us that since the colonists have been evacuated from the house, in agreement until the legality of this purchase at court – things have been quiet.

At the disputed house, another army guard post has been built and sports the Nahal flag. Final works are being carried out there before the purchasing families move in. The guard post is near the staircase from which the Palestinians went up to their cars. Now the soldiers demand to see their IDs. In short – another checkpoint.

Along Shuhada Street, once a lively neighborhood and market from which Palestinians had been forcefully evicted, construction works are nearing completion of 31 apartments for Jews, built instead of the army base that had been there. Another tentacle in the octopus growth to complete territorial contiguity with the colonist neighborhood Gv’at Ha-Avot. We could not drive up to Tel Rumeida because the road was blocked with trucks.

Yesterday, the former US ambassador visited the archeological park of the Jewish colony here. No real findings there.

Most of our vigil, though, took place at the ‘160 curve checkpoint’.

Children from the nearby school threw stones at the checkpoint and a chase developed in an attempt to stop them. A force of officers was summoned and they tried to calm things down, or heat them up – each according to his worldview.

A captain called me ‘traitor’.

The school principal and several mothers managed to convince the soldiers to let the children go.

The task of observation formerly carried out by international peace activists has been taken over by Palestinians with dual citizenship. We made contact with them. While speaking with the peace activist, a soldier came to make sure my life was not in danger because she is, after all, Palestinian.

The levels of suspicion and fear rise from year to year. In fact, the whole business is that same old story of dominating another people.