When the children get out of school I leave this spot and go up the hill, next to the other settlement. Roughly half way between the two settlements that surround this Palestinian neighbourhood, there are two “outposts” for soldiers, one at each side of the street. In one of those outposts two soldiers detain a boy, for no apparent reason, and they ask him for his identity card and I see them like playing with it.

Our norm is to approach the soldiers after ten minutes to ask about the reason for the detention. First a Palestinian boy approaches them and they ignore him. Then I approach them. In this instant the scene changes. One of the soldiers takes the detained guy inside the tent while the other soldier keeps us entertained in conversation. When we demand an explanation as to why the guy is being detained for longer than the army stipulates that some one can be detained before being arrested, he turns his back on us.

Then the Palestinian boy who has approached them before me explains: “the soldiers are accusing him of drug dealing, and they are searching him, but he says he is not carrying anything, and he’s not because otherwise they would have arrested him already. Then they took his ID card and told him than unless he comes back within half an hour with cocaine they will not give him his ID back and they will arrest him for not carrying it with him”. I look at him in terror. He shrugs and says: “usual stuff”.

Everyone have to go through the same routine I went through on my arrival, every day, or every time they need to the rest of the city, to go to work, to do their shopping, to go to school. And back. Of course people avoid it as much as they can. Every one who could afford to move out left long ago. That is why the street is so deserted, lonely, sad, silent and dead.

The shops are all closed, and all the doors have the Star of David painted in black on them. It is most horrifying if you know that it looks exactly as what they did to the Jews in Germany, only with swastikas, here with David’s stars.

Street lights do not exist because the street lamps were twice vandalised.

K. says that in the Camp David agreements it was established that these Palestinian shops should be open so that the street would be as lively as the rest of Hebron. Then the Israeli settlers smashed the street lamps in a Sabbath vandalism orgy and when the workers came to repair them, the settlers stoned them, both the workers and the lamps once repaired, and they were left vandalised because the workers just did not want to keep being stoned. So there they remain, smashed. Says K. that each Saturday in this street is a “Krystalnacht”, a Night of Broken Glasses.

Our day finishes at dusk, when no Palestinian dares to get out of their home. When something happens, they know where to find us.

R. comes to visit and tells us what has happened to him today at the checkpoint. He was carrying his laptop computer. The soldiers made him open it. He opened it. “Completely” said he soldier, making a move with his hand as if he was handling a screw driver. “I don’t have a screw driver here, I have one at home but it takes me half an hour to get there”, said R. The Israeli soldier shrugged his shoulders. So there he went for a screwdriver, otherwise he would have lost his computer. And he had to open all the different components. The guarantee is no longer valid, but the soldier will even say that he’s lucky he still has his laptop. If the soldier steals it, R. does not have any proof of any robbery (every one has to enter the cubicle alone), no Israeli judge is going to believe a Palestinian and if an international makes a statement in favour of a Palestinian s/he is going to be detained and/or deported, and the rest of the soldiers are not going to make statements against their colleague.