On Friday July 18th, 2008 I went on another trip organized by Peace Now’s Settlement Watch Team I already introduced in my Blog called “A Trip to Settler-Land”.
This time lots of people had joined – and as I said before – many of them (like me) not members of Peace Now. We came just to see reality on the ground.
The trip was supposed to go to Hebron (H2, to be precise). Peace Now had asked and obtained all the necessary permits for this trip – asked and obtained from the highest possible level in the Ministry of Security.
We set out from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv (5 busses full of Jewish Israeli citizens with blue ID card and tourists). Yet, as few miles ahead we were stopped by the police and not allowed to continue our trip.
The explanation given to us was that on that very morning settlers of H2 had aggressed a group of visitors led by members of Breaking the Silence. While the responsible people from Peace Now tried to negotiate the continuation of our trip, we were told that Hebron (H2) had been declared “Closed Military Zone” for the next few hours.
We were all very annoyed by this decision – for me it would have been my first visit to Hebron. Yet, a few of the settlers had arrived at the scene to give us a taste of what it would have been to go to Hebron.
As before in Beit El, they tried by shouting as loud as they could that WE were responsible for all terrorist attacks to disturbed the explanations given to us by our guides. We tried to figure out what to do, and some of us decided to continue our way as pedestrians.
While we tried to reach Hebron this way, policemen warned us that we were penetrating a Closed Military Zone and if we continued, we would be arrested. Yet, while walking a few dozens of meters towards Hebron, I saw several Israeli cars with kids on board penetrate without restriction this same Closed Military Zone. At that point I took out my Israeli ID card and asked the police to stop these people as well. As they didn’t react, I asked them all to explain to me what difference there was between those Israeli citizens allowed to penetrate a Closed Military Zone and me, Israeli citizen with exactly the same rights (or so I thought). I was sent to the officer in charge to get my replies (naturally lower graded policemen cannot give such an answer). One of them, though, (and I thank him for that) told me that as a private citizen he’d completely agree with me. Thank you, unknown policeman, for testifying your inner humanity…
So I went to talk to the officer and explained my case. The only answer a got after lots of extremely polite insistence that these Israeli citizens had a special permit to enter the Closed Military Zone, which I had not.
But the most AMAZING thing I’ve seen right in front of my eyes: while I was stopped and not allowed the Closed Military Zone, one of the tourists that had joined the trip, exhibiting his British Passport was ALLOWED TO PENETRATE THE CLOSED MILITARY ZONE of H2.
Later, on Sunday 20th, 2008, I found an article in The Jerusalem Post, relating the same incident.