20 October 2012
AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): A walk on the wild side
Two young Palestinian girls took a shortcut to the Old City of Hebron from their homes on the far side of Shuhada Street, the main street of the Old City which is now an Israeli only street because of the Israeli colonies established there.
To avoid a circuitous route to the Israeli army checkpoint at the far end of the street, the young teenagers cut through the Muslim cemetery and climbed over the wall onto the forbidden street.
Caught! A six-soldier patrol on Shuhada Street spied them and went into crisis mode. The sacred space had been violated! The squad immediately surrounded and detained the dangerous intruders, with snipers kneeling and pointing their guns in all directions from which any further terrorist attack might arise.
They then radioed for military assistance and advice. Two army vehicles responded. Ten heavily armed Israeli soldiers surrounded the frightened but brave young Palestinian women and escorted them to the Israeli Border Police at the nearest checkpoint. Not their problem!
The whole entourage reversed direction and proceeded back up Shuhada Street to where an Israeli Police Vehicle was sitting, motor running. Not their problem either!
Solution? Keep going to another checkpoint and call the Palestinian Police to come and take the disobedient girls. After holding them there for about twenty minutes, surrounded now by a large crowd of Palestinian onlookers, the Israeli soldiers finally allowed the dangerous duo to pass through the checkpoint into the hands of the Palestinian authorities.
A Palestinian friend assured us that they would be quickly released without penalties.