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), Tayasir, Tue 10.4.12, Morning
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.
11:00 Bezeq checkpoint
The intermediate days of Passover. The road north before us is congested, traffic crawling. We crossed.
The khamsin has an effect on the landscape whose colors are changing from shades of yellow to straw.
11:20 Alon Road, from the west
A helicopter, rotors turning, stands near the Ro’i settlement. Two soldiers beside it, one holding a bright orange cloth (?). It may be a target. A closed truck parks a little way off. There’s a figure in the grass near the helicopter. Maybe something happened? A shiny 4 x 4, three antennas jutting from its roof, turns off the road toward the helicopter. We photographed and left.
11:35 Hamra checkpoint
An army paddywagon is parked on the road where we’re allowed to stand, three sloppily-dressed soldiers in work clothes alongside. They’ve apparently been brought to clean it. The concertina wire covering “our” concrete block has been tossed aside. One of the soldiers picks it up and tries to put it back in place. For us? The soldiers inquire about us. One proudly says that “on behalf of his country” he’d kill Arabs for no reason at all. “But these days, if I even wave my weapon they’ll establish a commission of inquiry.”
The concertina wire has been put back in place. “Go on, go to other checkpoints, there’s action there. It’s quiet here. Let’s see whether they’ll behave as nicely toward them as we do after a 12 hour shift…”
Two officers approach. One sends the soldiers over to the paddywagon, annoyed they spoke to us. “Don’t talk to them!!!” He’s angry, repeats himself three times. The other officer asks for our identification. Since he’s not willing to show us his ID he doesn’t follow through and orders us to leave because it’s a military area…
Finally he tells us, as usual, not to interfere with what the soldiers are doing, “and don’t approach them!”
He indicates who “they” are by waving his hand in the direction of the checkpoint exit. We get it!!!
Someone stops to talk to us. The officer hurries over, “Don’t delay him here!”
The mobile luggage scanner begins operating. Female members of a family apparently on its way to Amman stand near us. Meanwhile (15 minutes) a line of eight cars forms from the east, as if it were impossible for nine male and female soldiers simultaneously to inspect a taxi carrying three pieces of luggage and cars crossing in the opposite direction.
12:25 We left
12:45 We met R.S. next to the Ro’i settlement (cf. Dafna Banai’s report from 29.3.12)
12:50 Alon Road
Girls returning from school
13:00 Tayasir checkpoint
Flags of the Kfir brigade. The threatening sign still hangs on the fence: Welcome. Operations Unit 97. War tomorrow.
Four soldiers at their post (nobody prevented us from approaching them), eating.
“Machsom Watch women?!” As if they didn’t know. One says he’s from Jerusalem, happy to talk on and on. The commander doesn’t try to stop him; instead, he descends to the post on the road. The second soldier remaining at the revolving gate looks - with his tangled earlocks and yarmulke – like one of the “hilltop youth.” He shyly admits to being an outlaw – he left home and enlisted despite the prohibition. He won’t tell us which settlement he lives in. “Tomorrow the army in which he’s serving could come down on his house. Do you understand?”, says his friend from Jerusalem.
13:30 We left.
They wished us a happy holiday and released us to the endless holiday traffic jam on the road through the Jordan Valley.