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, Thu 12.7.12, 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.
1. Battalion run, Tevetz junction
2. Palestinian vehicles stopped near Hamam El Malih because of the run
3. A line of Palestinian vehicles stopped on the Alon Road until the run passes.
04:15 Bezeq checkpoint (entry to/exit from the Jordan Valley area).
It’s dark! Yellow lights illuminate the checkpoint. There a light shining under every tree along the road divider.
04:50 Hamra checkpoint
Instead of the row of plastic barriers set up as a roadblock for people like us, there’s now an iron barrier belonging to the military police. It barely stands on crooked legs, far from the checkpoint area. We stood in our usual location. At first light (05:00) the attempts to move us away began. A soldier arrived, whom we convinced that this is our place; then a lieutenant came who told us move to the shed. He said that he set up the roadblock, and that it’s impossible that we ever stood so close to the checkpoint (…). He also returned whence he came. Then another lieutenant arrived, accompanied by a soldier (security?), who was more insistent, told us about an “attacker” who’s on the way to the checkpoint, and when that didn’t move us he said he’d call the police to arrest us. We stood where we were until the harassment stopped.
All the laborers coming through the checkpoint from the west toward the Jordan
Valley were on their way to work in the date groves near the Jiftlik or the grapes at the Beqa’ot settlement. We understand that the work day with grapes ends at 11:30 AM, and that many of the laborers come through here between 04:00-05:00. Youths also crossed. We greeted them all and they wished us a good morning.
05:25 Everyone who greeted us went through, noisily rushed up the hill to the northeast and stood there.
05:30 We left. There were only five people at the checkpoint, waiting for transportation to Beqa’ot.
Alon Road (Highway 578, from Mehola in the north to Mechora in the south, parallel to Highway 90).
In recent months (since we were last here) the berm along the road has gotten longer. We didn’t see the Gochia checkpoint opposite the Ro’i settlement (two months ago the iron bar was upended and broken) and didn’t go check its condition
05:45 Tevetz junction – the road up to the Tayasir checkpoint.
A Toyota pickup truck blocks the road. A soldier proudly informs us of a “battalion run.” A water station at the junction. Dozens of plastic cups scattered on the road. The commander is in a very good mood, promises that everyone is drinking and when it’s over they’ll remove the discarded cups.
A thought: Why aren’t the Bedouin allowed to drink???
05:55 We’re permitted to make the turn to the checkpoint but the told us to drive carefully because soldiers are on the road. There’s another roadblock at Hamam El Malih. Also a Toyota pickup truck. We’re permitted to continue east to the checkpoint but the Palestinian cars coming from Tayasir, to the east, have to wait in a line for ten minutes, half an hour, maybe longer.
06:05 The road is again accessible.
06:10 Tayasir checkpoint.
Every pole is decorated with a flag of the Kfir regiment, “The platoon that’s out in front.” We arrived when the shift changed.
We went up to the position. The checkpoint commander, a first sergeant, announced firmly that we’re not allowed to stand near the position, only far away, beyond the junction.
No one was crossing.
06:25 We left.
06:40 North of Al-Farasiyya was another line of cars, stopped until the battalion run had passed. The soldiers drink. Many already trail in a line behind the battalion first-aid truck whose lights are blinking. There we saw Palestinian vehicles that had already been delayed near Hamam El Malih. The soldier tells us we may continue. We waited. One of the drivers said that he’s already been on the road an hour from the Tayasir checkpoint. The drivers asked to be allowed to drive on the dirt round west of the Mehola settlement – but no!
06:50 The line of cars was released.
07:00 Bezeq checkpoint.
“Where are you coming from?”
We were released.