First blog for Spring 2011 stint

May 3

Today is my third day in Hebron and it feels as though I’ve been here a week—that is usually the case; new people often have to hit the ground running.  I think the region is at its most beautiful in the spring, with all the wild red poppies scattered about.  Even hollyhocks grow wild here by the side of the road, like cattails in the U.S.

The electricity went out today, so I had time to write a release on how the news of Osama Bin Laden’s death was received here in Hebron.  Below was a paragraph I cut out:

 As long as there are military occupations, there will be terrorists.  As long as paramilitary thugs attack children on their way to school, there will be terrorists.  As long as historic wrongs are deemed inconsequential by those who have perpetrated those wrongs, there will be terrorists.

 While I was writing, received a call from one of the local shopowners that soldiers had confiscated the IDs (without which Palestinians cannot move anywhere) of a bunch of people.  In the end, they handed out all of the IDs but one belonging to a the son of a sweetshop owner in our neighborhood.  They obviously thought of it as a huge joke that they had this piece of paper that essentially rendered the boy immobile.  One of my teammates demanded that a soldier bring out his commanding officer.  The rest of the soldiers left on patrol, laughing, while the remaining soldier feigned a consultation with the officer (he had obviously just sneaked behind the watchtower, thinking, mistakenly, that he was invisible there and then came back.) 

We accompanied the young man to the police station, but the police would not let him file a complaint.  It looked as though I was going to have to go with him to the main police station in the settlement of Kiryat Arba, so I gathered my knitting, because there is always a many-hour long wait there, but then TIPH intervened and said the police would call the young man from the sweetshop when they retrieved his ID.

As long as Occupiers think playing mean tricks on people is funny, there will be terrorists.

A bit of bad personal news:  I was out in Al-Bweireh yesterday, where the team accompanies children vulnerable to settler attack when they walk home from school.  Trucks were laying down gravel and asphalt on the dirt road between the Harsina settlement and an outpost—an outpost that the Israeli government considers illegal and has dismantled before.  I was backing up, trying to take a picture of the road and fell over backwards.  The camera flew out of my hand and hit the road and no longer works.  Going to try to see if there is a place in Hebron I can get it fixed.  But I may not be uploading as many pictures as I did last time I was here.

It could be worse.  A settlement could be expanding.  Oh wait, a settlement IS expanding.

Neither I nor my colleague had the Settlement Watch number in our cellphones.  So we called another Israeli group, reported the road paving and then asked if they would call Settlement Watch for us.  “We don’t talk to Settlement Watch,” they said.

This is why the occupation wins.