Since 2001 we have observed dozens of army checkpoints on paved and unpaved roads in the West Bank, the Jordan Valley and along the Separation Fence; Civil Administration offices which grant permits to Palestinians; and military courts trying Palestinian prisoners. We stand at the checkpoints observing the behavior of soldiers and Palestinians without interfering, intervening only when soldiers behave offensively to Palestinians. Then we try to speak to the soldiers themselves or telephone...
Hamra (Beqaot), Ma'ale Efrayim, Tayasir, Sun 5.2.12, Afternoon
One of the Jordan Rift Valley checkpoints that prevent direct transit between the West Bank and the Jordan Valley, in addition to Tayasir Checkpoint. Located next to Hamra settlement, on Route 57 and the Allon Road.
Translator: Charles K.
The security coordinator from the Rotem settlement violently attacked a youth grazing a flock next to Highway 90. The youth has been hospitalized for three days.
The Gochia checkpoint opened on time today! It’s worth noting because it’s been closed for most of the past few months.
The Jordan Valley is green, lovely – we might be in Ireland.
Ma’aleh Efrayim checkpoint
No inspections. No soldiers.
New cultivated areas between Gitit and Mechora – as well as expansion of the land of Moshav Na’ama in the southern Jordan Valley, around the packing house, as well as lands of the Mechora settlement.
Hamra checkpoint, 12:30
A new sign before the checkpoint: Pedestrian crossing; behind it a path bypassing the checkpoint on the left, at the end of which concrete blocks prevent vehicles from going through. It turns out that it’s a one-way path, toward Area A. We saw only one girl use it while we were there.
A white truck with a covered body stood on the road near where pedestrians are inspected, as it did the last time we were here two weeks ago. This time its door was open. Our curiosity was aroused after an officer in a jeep who stopped near us refused to explain what it was. We thought we saw two computer stations. No soldiers got in or came out.
At the entrance to Area A cars cross quickly without inspections.
A taxi with Israeli license plates is detained at the entry to Area A and finally sent back. It had three Australian tourists of Palestinian origin, from Faluja (which before 1948 was located near what is now Kiryat Gat). The problem was the Israeli taxi and the driver/guide from East Jerusalem, who weren’t allowed to enter. After consultation they decided to try to go through the Huwwara checkpoint.
Many new Bedouin tents along both sides of the road to Tayasir.
Tayasir checkpoint, 14:15
A large group of schoolchildren crosses from Tayasir.
A vehicle with a Nestle’s ad parked in the checkpoint; perhaps someone selling snacks and drinks.
The checkpoint is manned by Border Police soldiers. They’ll be here briefly, until the army unit assigned to the area arrives. They seem to represent a change for the better. People at the checkpoint say that things have improved since they came. The Gochia checkpoint also finally opened.
Gochia checkpoint, 15:00
The gate was closed when we arrived, as usual and as expected. And, as usual, we telephoned to Zaharan at the DCO, who was too busy to take the message (which usually doesn’t help anyway). And to our surprise, though after some delay, a jeep with Border Police soldiers came to open the gate. Their commander promised they’d be sure to open the gate three times a week, as they’re supposed to.
K., the head of the family, tells us that last Friday, when two of his sons were herding next to Highway 90, D., the head of security for the Rotem settlement, attacked them, beat one on the head and face with his fists until he collapsed. His brother called to the soldiers standing by the roadside for help. They called an ambulance and the police. They wanted to hospitalize him in Israel, apparently because his condition was serious, but his brother refused. He’s been hospitalized for three days in Jenin and hasn’t yet recovered. The police told him to come for questioning today.
We referred them to “Yesh Din.” Only external intervention will stop the brutal behavior of the security coordinators from the settlements in the area toward the Bedouin shepherds.
Ma’aleh Efrayim checkpoint – 16:35
Soldiers on site, conducting inspections.