More Question and Answers
Back when I posted about the expanded (huge, honestly) road block that was blocking the road to Yatta, Alajnbiya asked some great questions. There less applicable now that the block has been taken down, but I'll answer them more generally:
So can you walk around it?
Well, at the time, I would have described what I did as climbing over it. Possible, not easy even for very able-bodied people.
Are there any health care facilities on the Tuwani side?
At-Tuwani has a very basic health clinic that's open once a week for most of the day. But all the major health care facilities are in Yatta.
Are there pregnant women who can't get to the hospital without walking through a field?
Well, I have to admit that this question made me giggle. At-Tuwani's a farming town, nobody can get any where except by walking through fields. :) But seriously, medical access for pregnant women is a huge issue, even when the road to Yatta is open. Because travel to Yatta is always chancy (due to flying checkpoints and poor infrastructure), many women who have family in Yatta simply stay there when their due date begins to approach. Women who live in the Tuba and Magher Al Abeed, two smaller villages of the South Hebron Hills near At-Tuwani, have to walk over the hills to get to the hospital. Settlers have taken over the roads to their villages -- the road to Tuba has been declared "public" by the Israeli high court, but the only Palestinians who are able to use it are school children and they have to be escorted by the Israeli military. This leaves all Palestinians being forced to hike through the hills, even pregnant women. Because of Israeli settlers regularly chase and attack Palestinians, Palestinian residents are forced to take further detours so that they remain out of sight of the settlement and are prepared to run at any moment. All of this means, as you might imagine, that many women are forced to give birth at home, inside the houses they've built inside caves.