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police, soldiers and riots – just another Wednesday in Hebron

March 14, 2013

Pics_CheckpointBefore breakfast today I got hassled by the cops. I was at a checkpoint, watching the kids go through a metal detector when a mini-tank hummed up and the blue shirted cop asked me how my morning was. I said I was fine. He told me I was a tourist and not there with the agreement of the Israeli Government and had no right to be near the check point. I said I thought it was Palestine (no I didn’t, but I should have) I asked where I could stand and observe. Being my first morning observing, I was told not to interact but to graf_girl_schoolcomply. I walked 10 meters away and the police officer said this was fine. So I stood there and realised that was my first interaction with Israeli Authority and I wasn’t too shaken up or had any issues. In fact, I wasn’t even worried, just spoke to some dude about where he wanted me to stand. Meanwhile kids and people trying to live in Hebron get harassed on their way to school, work and university. Then I went home to have breakfast.

Zleikah_tour_2During the morning we had a fascinating tour of Hebron through Open_Shuhada_Stthe eyes of Zleikha, a long time resident of Hebron and neighbour of the CPT apartment. Now Zleikha can’t use her front door as it opens on to Shuhada street, one of the main roads of Hebron.  Shuhada street has been closed to Palestinians since settlers fired upon the main Mosque in 1994.  If Zleikha goes out the front door, she can get arrested. Toward the end of our tour, a Canadian media crew asks Zleikha if she’ll do an interview. Zleikha agrees and we all head down Shuhada Street – a bit to look dramatic and stuff. After the interview, a very young Israeli soldier comes Check_ID_soldier_Shuhada_stup to us and asks for our I.D. well, Zleikha’s I.D. anyway. He tells her she can’t be here and we turn to leave.  Jasmine says to me “He wasn’t too bad” and then we see the soldier running up after us. He takes Zleikha’s ID and tells her she is detained. We wait for half an hour or so, and I learn from one of the news crew who is Israeli and Jewish that Zleikah is detained because of a broken radio.  Turns out he can not release Zleikha until he gets clearance and his two way radio is broken.  Finally 19 year old Israeli soldier finds some way through this, releases this Palestinian elder, and I get to have lunch.

After a long day, I want to snooze before dinner. butcherInstead we decide to go and observe a riot taking place. This sounds dramatic and it was scary, but basically it was a bunch of frustrated young men throwing rocks at the Israeli Soldiers. The Israeli soldiers fire back tear gas and rubber bullets. I take photos whilst ducking for cover and right next to me a butcher is staying open, just doing business. I throw my used up onion on the ground (to help my eyes no sting from the tear gas) and take a photo of him. To him, this is just a Wednesday arvo in Hebron…

Peace.

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2 Comments
  1. J. Mac permalink

    Strength to your witness Greg!

  2. Helen B permalink

    I love reading the common sense detail of your account. Say hi to Zleika for me. I met her in 2008 and visited her school. Will be thinking of you and the Team each day.

I would be honored if you espoused your narrative here.....

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