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A Quiet Shabbat in Tel Rumeida…

by Shlomo Bloom

One of the Palestinians said today that he thought most of the settlers were in Kiryat Arba and there were very few of them on the street so there was hardly any trouble.

At about 3pm, three settler boys of approximately 10 years of age began throwing rocks at two Human Rights Workers (HRWs) on Shuhada street. One HRW began filming and the other tried to get the boys to stop and encouraged the soldier to help. The soldier was able to get the boys to stop throwing rocks. A few minutes later a police jeep came by, asked if everything was OK and a HRW told him 3 boys were throwing rocks. The officer said he would look into it. After that, about three border police appeared at the stone stairs that lead to the Qutarba girls school.

At approximately 4pm the old man with his donkey attempted to pass through the checkpoint. The soldier on duty would not let him. A HRW inquired to see what the problem was. There was one nice soldier and one mean solder. The HRW spoke at length to the nice soldier who told her his commander had ordered them not to let the man through. The HRW told him the man goes through that checkpoint everyday. The soldier said he could not go through today. Attempts at reasoning with the mean soldier were futile. An HRW called Machsom Watch (the Israeli human rights group that monitors the behaviour of soldiers at checkpoints), who said she would see what she could do.

Eventually a deal was reached wherein the Palestinian man with the donkey would show the soldiers what was in the saddlebag and then he could go through. He was allowed to pass after approximately 20 minutes.