Translator: Hanna K
Thursday, it is hot, the week during which the Ramadan and the Eid-el-Fiter celebrations ended.
15:00 Irtah CP – The workmen return from work, they arrive in centralized transportations, they are not checked at the entrance.
15:38 road 60 – looking westwards, before the Jit intersection, one can see how the building northwards advances incessantly at the Kedumim settlement.
15:53 Huwwara CP – there is a soldier in the watch-tower opposite the hitch-hikers station at the exit from the Beraha settlement. There is a soldier at the hitch-hikers station at the entrance to the Beraha settlement. New flags are hoisted at the CP.
16:03 at the Awarta village at the entrance near the apartheid road which leads to Itamar, not far from the Huwwara DCO, on the wall of a private house the inscription The price tag was written and later camouflaged in a kind of scrabble deletion.
We were told that yesterday around 19.00 a flying CP was put up at the intersection between Bizzariya and Silat ad Dhahr (near the evacuated Humash settlement). Soldiers arrived in a hummer and checked a Palestinian vehicle.
16:22 Za'tara CP – A soldiers stands in the warch tower at the parking lot, and two soldiers are below. They do not check.
16:57 Azzun Atma CP – a military command-car and jeep stand in front of the CP. Girl soldiers guard the queue of the entering people. Workmen return from their day's work (Thursday in Palestine is like Friday in Israel).
There are a few detainees on the side, among which two women and small children. They are all being punished because they don't have entrance permits. The soldier who tries more than anything to see what photos I took – says that they will remain punished so as to teach them a lesson.
We try to contact the center on their behalf but to no avail because they have a technical problem with their phones there. But we nevertheless got a promise that they would try to take care of the matter, i.e. to see to it that the detainees be allowed to enter soon, with the help of the DCO.
Another problem was raised by the workmen at the Azzun Atma CP - they were forced to leave the bus driving to Ariel because they are Palestinians, and had to walk many kilometers,
They rightly claim that the price of the journey by public transport is much cheaper than by private transporation which
collect enormous sums from them for the trip to work and back.
This does not interest anybody and they have nobody to turn to in order to correct this wrong.
Translated by Naomi G.
According to Ma’ged, the checkpoints commander in the local DCO, 3 weeks ago the restrictions on the entrance of west-bank citizens to Jordan Valley were lifted. We didn’t check if the order was indeed executed. Does this leniency intended for the Ramadan Month only? The checkpoints were operating as usual.
Following Daphne’s report from 8/8/12 about the confiscation of 80 cows that were, according to military authorities, in the way of traffic (that is always quite sparse). The family paid 15,000 shekels (besides the lawyer’s fee) and got back 22 cows less than were taken away. The army admitted that 8 cows died and were buried. Many cows were returned wounded. No compensation was offered to the family.
We realized that in fact there were cameras warning about people waiting to cross at the closed Gochia checkpoint. 20 minutes after we got there an army vehicle arrived. Ma’ged said that he gave, as well, his phone number to people living west of the gate, in case they wanted to cross. Still, during the last weeks, since the gate was repaired, no one went through. If this the solution to the problem of the checkpoint being constantly closed? We need to go on checking, especially with the residents that need to cross here. It seems that Ma’ged is the best address when clarifications are needed.
First day of Eid al Fiter (celebration of the end of the Ramadan fast): there is more traffic at the checkpoints, mainly of families visiting for the holydays. People who we usually meet were elsewhere, visiting relatives.
Za’tara /Tapuach Checkpoint – 14.00
The lot is empty. No soldiers except on guarding towers.
Ma’aleh Efrayim checkpoint – 14.15
There is a soldier at the checking point toward the Jordan Valley. But we were told that there are no restrictions for entering the Valley, and that lately there are no checking at all, so why today all of a sudden? A white transit with army license plate is parked here (the civil administration? General Security Services?)
While we were there no Palestinian car passed by, so we couldn’t see if inspections were performed. When we came back two hours later there were no soldiers around.
Gitit Settlement – on the other side of the settlement, the west side of the road, new hothouses with vines were raised. Further, facing the Pumping Institute of Mekorot, the Water Company, there is a large unplowed field (not Palestinian, obviously). There are no settlements in this area and in previous years a settler from the west valley worked the land.
Hamra Checkpoint – 14.40
At 40 Celsius degrees heat, passengers who left the car for inspection, are waiting for the checking to end so that they can get back to the cars and travel to their destinations, it usually takes 2-3 minutes.
Gochia checkpoint – 15.00
After waiting for 20 minutes the checkpoint commander arrived. See at the head of the report.
Tayasir Checkpoint – 16.45
Here, too, more traffic than usual, especially heading west. It doesn’t seem as if there are more people who want to take advantage of the leniency at the Valley’s entrance, as the commander said. The same goes for Hamra’s checkpoint.
Between Roee and Mehora settlements lives a Bedouin family. Army units constantly train in front of their tents, often with live fire. The maneuver lasts all week long. The family lives in constant fear of someone being hurt. 4 adults and 4 children live there. If they move their tents, the camp will be destroyed and they will have no place to live.
A bus downloads soldiers who settle beside the road.
In K. camp next to Masciot settlement – We heard from their members about the continuation of the procedures concerning their 80 (according to them 120) cows that were confiscated 10 days ago. See head of report.
Za’tara/Tapuah Checkpoint – 18.30
Three border guards next to the guarding tower in the middle of the main lot.
Four soldiers are standing on both sides of the road leading to Huwwara. During the 15 minutes we waited no car stopped for inspection. There are no soldiers here during the last months. It’s hard to believe that these soldiers, who were brought here on purpose, did nothing. We had no time for follow-up.
On the side of the road on the western side a police car stopped a Palestinian car for inspection.
Translator: Naomi G.
Once again we get the feeling that the problems of the Palestinian populations are getting lost in the maw of the well-oiled occupation machine. The wrong-doings haven’t lessened, but nowadays, they do not “reach” the checkpoints, and therefore we can’t observe them on our watches.
10:40 Eliyahoo Gate
Two cars with yellow plates are waiting to enter Israel.
There are no blockages/checking from Israel to the occupied territories, one just drives on.
No soldiers or police.
11:12 Beit Furik Checkpoint
Empty as well.
12:20 Hamra Checkpoint
3 booths, 6 soldiers, 2 lanes, a truck for checking suspected objects and a large canopy which covers the checkpoint.
Dozens of men, women and children are waiting while the car which drove them from Nablus, zone A, is being inspected. The inspection is fast, two minutes and they are on their way.
A Taxi, a private car and another taxi arrive one after the other; the trunks and the drivers’ papers are being checked, and the passengers are being inspected in a special room. Meanwhile two soldiers arrive and try to find out who we are. They never heard about Machsom Watch.
A car and a tractor which came from Hamra, and are going west of zone A, pass without inspection, following a hand signal to move on.
We were here around 20 minutes; the passages seemed fast and we saw no delays.
13:10 Tayasir Checkpoint
Two soldiers. Deserted.
After a few moments 3 cars arrive, wanting to pass to Tubas, in Zone A, and they are being checked. Thoroughly. Why this difference between Hamra and Yayasir? To this day no one has been able to explain it to us.
A car arrived on the other side; the passengers descend and were checked at the inspection room. So were the driver and his car.
We waited 10 more minutes, no traffic, and drove away.
13:50 Hamra Checkpoint again
In addition to the soldiers there is now an army vehicle and a police Jeep (we have never seen police here. They must have been summoned. They are checking a driver of an Israeli car that came from zone A, he looks like an Israeli-Arab). After several minutes the army vehicle continues to zone A.
Otherwise, here too, we witnessed a fast passage of pedestrians and cars, with no delays.
14:20 Ma’ale Efrayim
One soldier in the guard tower; no soldiers on the road.
14:30 Za’tara/Tapuach Checkpoint
2 soldiers in the guard tower (pillbox), no soldiers and no police on the road.
Translator: Hanna K.
End of summer and end of Ramadan – the roads, both in Israel and in Palestine are empty.
06:20 Azzun Atma: There are very few people waiting in the queue. There are two computer stations active. Yesterday, so the commander tells us, there were computer failures and the queues became very long. He asks whether we have connections up there, to put pressure on them to improve the computer set up.
We saw no workmen coming from the direction of the agricultural gate.
06:30 Samaria Crossing:There is no police at the way out from Israel. There are road works on the lane leaving Israel.
After Ariel we overtook with difficulty at long Israeli truck which transported hundreds of cements sacks in the direction of the settlements.
06:55 Za'tara/Tapuah: Border policemen at the stations, detaining vehicles for the inspection of papers. Because of the sparse traffic on the road no queues were formed.
At the square opposite the entrance to Beitathere was a border-police vehicle.
Yitzhar/Burin CPs:There was no military activity.
07:Beit Furik: No soldiers and the traffic flows. On the guard tower hangs a green & white new flag.
Awarta:The yellow iron bar is closing the road to the village and to Nablus. A spokeswoman from the IDF promised me this morning that the answer to my letter (sent a year ago) about the locked iron bar, is ready and she is waiting for a confirmation to mail it.
07:35 Huwwara:No soldiers were seen at the CP. But we noticed that there is light in the guard tower.
On the way to Beracha settlement there is a soldier and another one was guarding the hitchhiking post.
In the town of Huwwara few traffic and all shops are closed.
07:50 Za'tara/Tapuach CP.:Border police checking the few cars which are crossing the junction. More soldiers have been seen in the CP. area.
Translator: Hanna K.
A hot day during the Ramadan month.
14:40 Irtah CP - Thursday in Palestine is like our Friday, and especially during the Ramadan month. The workmen now return home earlier than usual. They go through the gate and are not being checked in the rooms.
We are told that the checks in the mornings "are sometimes good, sometimes not".
14:55 Jabara CP - Here the guards are still soldiers and not civilians working for a security company.
15:10 Anabta CP - we didn't see any soldiers at the new CP which is splendidly built. (!!!)
15:15 a military truck comes towards us on road no. 57, near the Jit intersection. When looking westwards it is impossible not to see the massive building at the Kedumin settlement.
15:20 The construction of an elaborate night illumination for part of road no. 60 has been completed. All o f I t is designated only to lighten the way for the inhabitants of the Gilad ranch settlement.
On the same road no. 60, towards us comes a military tender, followed by another.
15:28 Huwwara CP - There is a soldier at the guard tower opposite the hitch-hikers station at the way out from the Beraha settlement, there is another soldier sitting at the station itself, at the entrance to this settlement. Another soldiers is at the guard tower at the CP itself.
15:38 Beit Furik CP – we saw no soldiers at the CP.
15:42 Awarta CP – the yellow arm is still shut. There is no possibility to pass from here to Nablus.
16:26 A bit before the Za'tara/Tapuah CP – the blue police checks a Palestinian vehicle.
16:30 Za'tara/Tapuah CP – two soldiers sit in the shade. They do not check. There is no load. New banners intended for the settlers hang on the CP fence. A military vehicle arrives towards us with high lights after we passed the CP, and is followed by another.
16:50- Azzun Atma CP – There are no workmen waiting in the queue on their way home.
Translator: Charles K.
The army confiscates cows and the Shabak interrogates laborers returning home at the end of their workday.
09:00 Ma’aleh Efrayim – Not manned.
Yesterday approximately 80 cows belonging to the Darajmeh family, which lives right below the Maskiyot settlement, were confiscated. The family said one of the sons, Seti, and his son, grazed their herd east of Maskiyot, far enough away so as not to galvanize into action the settlement’s security coordinator, but not near Highway 90. A representative of the Civil Administration, in a well-planned ambush, arrived with trucks, took the cows to quarantine at the Adam Bridge, arrested Seti and his son and took them to Ariel. No one notified the family of the arrest; no document confirming the confiscation was provided. When I came (the next day) they asked me to find out the reason for the arrest and confiscation. Only then did they learn that the cows allegedly crossed Highway 90.
Those arrested were required to post a bond of NIS 3,000 in order to be released, and who knows how much they’ll have to pay to get the cows back (transport, food, charges for holding them, etc.)! (I spoke with Jamila, from the Association for Civil Rights, and with Yudit from Yesh Din; no one wants to handle it). Towards afternoon the Palestinian Authority sent an attorney to Ariel to get the men released.
This is the same family which two years ago was accused of allowing its cows to enter a nature reserve rather than staying on the “marked trail.” The family is poor; the children run after cars, asking for food. Their cows are so emaciated and wretched that by the end of the summer the herders walk with them long distances to find some vegetation they can eat. The area, like the entire northern Jordan Valley, is also a firing range, so there’s no end to the possible pretexts than can be employed to embitter the lives of the inhabitants – the occupation, a nature reserve, a firing range…
I had no words of encouragement as I stood before them. They’re alone, facing the occupation’s steamroller that’s doing all it can to abuse them and chase them from their homes. A report of the incident appears on YNET.
10:30 Tayasir checkpoint - The soldiers hurry to chase us away, as usual, but we don’t even get close. They’re also trying to remove us from where the cars wait after crossing through the checkpoint. But we refuse to move; the soldier shrugs his shoulders and leaves us alone. There’s almost no traffic; cars coming from the West Bank cross in five minutes. Those coming from the Jordan Valley aren’t delayed at all. I asked the soldier whether restrictions have been eased for Ramadan; the question surprised him. “Why should they have been? Everything’s as usual.”
11:30 Hamra checkpoint – Three or four cars were always waiting in each direction. A truck arriving from the West Bank was refused entry to the Jordan Valley and had to return whence it came. The passenger in the truck remained at the checkpoint; he told us the driver is from Tubas, on the West Bank, which is why he wasn’t allowed into the Jordan Valley, but that the truck has other ways to cross and he’ll await it there…obviously. Because no checkpoint can block the power of people’s lives. All it can do is make things difficult, harass, embitter the weakest, those who can’t handle the manipulations necessary to get by…
They’re trying to chase us away here as well. It’s very hot; passengers who had to get out of the cars and cross on foot wait in the incandescent metal shed.
12:10 Ma’aleh Efrayim – We see from afar the long lines stretching away from the checkpoint. 18 cars on the roadside waiting to cross to the West Bank, the soldiers collecting IDs from the passengers. People had already gotten out of the burning hot cars when we arrived (not all are air-conditioned); it’s 37 degrees Celsius in the shade but there isn’t any shade. They’ve been waiting more than half an hour. Most of the cars are crowded with
laborers returning from working in the settlements’ fields; they began at 5 in the morning, in the sun, and because of the Ramadan fast they didn’t eat or drink. Now they’re stuck here, at the checkpoint. People are very angry, also at us standing helplessly before them. In desperation they’re seeking help, not sympathy…
It turned out that sitting behind the concrete barriers surrounding the pillbox towering over the checkpoint are “foxes, if you know what I mean,” according to one of the soldiers. Every few minutes one of the youths is called to accompany a soldier to the Shabak officers. Before entering the soldiers’ area he must lift his shirt and is carefully inspected. During the hour we were there we saw five youths brought from the cars to the interrogation room. Interrogation? Recruitment of collaborators? It’s very simple to cancel the valuable work permit that enables someone to support their family.
After an hour had passed I was forced to leave because of my guests’ commitments.
Translator: Charles K.
One of the participants on “A Star is Born” this season is a settler from Tzufim. Just “Tzufim.” Yesterday participants were each asked to sing a song recalling a childhood memory. As she explained the reason she chose her song she was filmed at a bird-watching station from which you could see into the distance; the red-roofed buildings of Tzufim peeking from one edge of the frame. She gazes west, but from the bird-watching station where she stands she can’t see the town of Qalqiliya surrounded by a wall, the villages of Jayyus, Nabi Elias and others whose lands were stolen for the benefit of the settlements in the area. Nor do the directors, hosts and judges of the show with the largest viewing audience understand how they legitimize the occupation when they write just “Tzufim.” Apparently the overflow audience in the studio and those sitting in front of the TV at home don’t know, or don’t think about the de facto annexation of an area located beyond the familiar, sovereign borders of the state of Israel.
We saw facts being created on the ground at every settlement below which we drove (“below” – of course. That’s the strategy) – construction whose momentum doesn’t cease, the lofty cranes, the buildings spreading from the hilltops down the hillsides, already touching the Palestinian villages below.
And therefore our shift today raises a question about the political solution of dividing the land.
The land has been carved up by checkpoints which, according to the wishes of politicians/the military prevent/control/determine the movement of Palestinians. So we saw:
06:50 – Habla. About 15 people wait on the Habla side for the checkpoint to open.
06:58 –A driver and cart cross to Habla.
07:04 –A “quintet” of Palestinians is inspected and exits toward the plant nurseries.
07:06 –The second “quintet” exits.
07:08 –Women exit.
A young man seated between the fences is told by a soldier to remove his shoes.
More and more people, and also horse carts, join those waiting.
There’s shoving among the people waiting on the Habla side.
Those wearing belts are told to remove them during the inspection.
A woman who isn’t young waits to enter Habla. She came out earlier; now she’s carrying a large bundle of mallows on her head.
07:43 –People arrive bit by bit from Habla.
A young man exiting the inspection building says: “They’re [the soldiers] stuck-up.” We asked what he meant. “I say: ‘Open the door;’ She says: ‘You’re not my boss;’ I say: ‘Open it so we can go out.’
07:48 –We left.
07:58 –Eliyahu crossing checkpoint – Three people are waiting in the shed.
We continued our circuit of the checkpoints:
We saw where the Ras A-Tiya checkpoint had once stood; today there’s no sign of it. But the military “security road” located on the village’s land is blocked by a gate.
Azzun Atma’s northern gate #1459 is manned by soldiers. Cars exiting aren’t inspected; no cars were entering at this hour. We entered the village and drove to Azzun Atma’s southern checkpoint. No one waited to leave the village. There are remnants of a checkpoint at QarawatBani-Hassan(near Biddya) – from which we learn that the occupation is still present. We continued to the Za’tara/Tapuach checkpoint. No inspections here either, although there were Border Police soldiers in the parking area. Cars go through the Huwwara checkpointwithout delays; a soldier peeked at us from the guard tower overlooking the plaza.
Throughout our circuit we saw, as we said, how the phrase “We’ll dress you in garments of concrete and cement”… is being applied, as you can see in the following photos, taken opposite the settlements of Sha’arei Tiqwa/Etz Efrayim.
Translator: Charles K.
Notwithstanding the articles in “Haaretz” and the delegation of peace organizations to the Jordan Valley in protest against the army’s confiscation of water wagons from the Bedouin, the policy of confiscations continues unimpeded. Three days ago two tractors and a water wagon belonging to A. and O. were confiscated; they were told they’d be summoned to court and will be fined heavily for parking in a “firing range.” They were parked next to their family’s tent, but the entire area, except for the settlements, is a firing range! So even their presence is illegal.
The tractors are the Bedouin’s sole means of transportation, indispensable for making a living – bringing hay for the flock, water to the grazing land. You have to remember that these people are very poor; they meet their basic needs only with great difficulty. Where will they get the money to pay the occupying authorities? And tomorrow their equipment could be confiscated again.
Thus the Civil Administration, which is responsible for taking care of and dealing with the needs of the civilian population (in this case, the Bedouin), becomes an instrument of repression and dispossession in the hands of the military authorities.
12:55 Za’tara/Tapuach junction checkpoint. Only the guard towers are manned.
13:10 Ma’aleh Efrayim checkpoint – An Israeli police car on the road to the west is stopping vehicles which have yellow (Israeli) license plates.
Gitit settlement – New greenhouses west of the road.
Between Gitit and Mechora – The temperature is 39 degrees Celsius; the sheep seek any bit of shade under the jujube trees. A tanker fills a water wagon in one of the grazing areas.
Mechora settlement – Many long-abandoned greenhouses. Large chicken houses have recently begun to be erected, five thus far.
13:30 Hamra checkpoint. A man from Tam’un waits for a patient coming from Hadassah hospital, a laborer who fell from a ladder in one of the settlements. His employer is bringing him from Jerusalem. The man complains that the Gochia crossing is always closed, which greatly lengthens the trip to the Jordan Valley for residents of Tam’un. He says that soldiers at the Tayasir checkpoint harass people who have to go through, unnecessarily delaying them for long periods. On the other hand, people cross through the Hamra checkpoint quickly, in a reasonable amount of time.
Three cars coming from the Jordan Valley wait on the road. Three minutes later they go through without inspection.
Ro’i settlement. Seedlings have been planted in a fenced field by the side of the road west of the settlement.
15:00-15:30 Gochia checkpoint
The gate is closed and locked. Zaharan, from the DCO, has been given a different assignment. We spoke to someone from the DCO situation room; she didn’t know what we were talking about, nor did she help. Later we managed to speak to Majid, the checkpoint non-com. He said they have cameras showing whether people are waiting at the gate; they send soldiers to open it. But since usually no one comes, there’s no point in opening it.
Someone should examine that claim. At one time, when a different unit was responsible for opening the gate, one of its officers told us they opened it in the morning but if no one went through there was no reason to re-open it in the afternoon. At that time, no one mentioned cameras. Meanwhile, it’s like the chicken and the egg: because the local Bedouin see the gate is always closed (it’s supposed to open three times a week for half an hour in the morning and in the afternoon) they don’t try to use it; as a result, as Majid says, there’s no point opening it.
16:40 Tayasir checkpoint. Very little traffic.
The checkpoint commander approaches us with another soldier to warn us not to go near the checkpoint. We asked them whether they know that the Gochia crossing is supposed to be opened, because the unit in the base near the checkpoint is responsible for doing so. He had no idea. We should note this unit is new here.
At K’s encampment
K. tells us about two people from the Hamam el Malih area who had tractors and a water wagon confiscated.
“My father is 90 years old. He’s been living here since before the 1967 war. Now they tell him – leave. All the land is ours. Where should he go?”
18:15 Ma’aleh Efrayim checkpoint.
Soldiers inspect Palestinian cars traveling to the Jordan Valley. Only those whose owner and driver are registered as being residents of the Jordan Valley are permitted to cross (why???). Each car is detained for about five minutes. First, documents are inspected. There’s a discussion/argument. Then the driver gets out to open the trunk. Only afterwards is he allowed to drive away.
As usual, cars belonging to settlers speed by at the same time. If the road is blocked the drivers make those waiting at the checkpoint move to the side, because they’re lords of the land. As are we.
A few months have passed since inspections were conducted here. Nothing out of the ordinary happened while we were present.
Translator: Charles K.
The cut in the defense budget is already felt here – very few soldiers around.
06:20 Azzun Atma: The checkpoint opened late this morning despite Ramadan. The soldiers say the delay was only ten minutes. A congested line of more than 70 laborers at the checkpoint. Only the computerized inspection stations are operating. The MP’s don’t open a manual inspection station because they say there aren’t enough soldiers. The soldiers ask us to speak to them “upstairs” so they’ll be allocated more manpower to open additional inspection stations. Is that how they see our role – to improve the checkpoints?
The laborers report waiting more than an hour.
We saw no laborers coming from the direction of the agricultural gate.
06:30 Shomron crossing: No police at the exit from Israel. An additional lane has been paved going east.
On the way we passed a transporter taking a large prefabricated structure to the settlements.
06:50 Za’tara/Tapuach: No soldiers at the stations. Light traffic on the road.
Yitzhar/Burin checkpoint: No military activity
07:00 Awarta: The yellow bar is still locked, blocking passage.
07:20 Beit Furik: No soldiers; traffic flows. We didn’t see a soldier in the tower.
07:25 Huwwara: We didn’t see soldiers in the area of the checkpoint.
A soldier at the road up to Beracha settlement. No soldier at the hitchhiking location on the other side of the road.
Burin/Yitzhar:No military activity
The town of Huwwarastill slumbers on the verge of an additional day of oppressive heat and a lengthy fast. All the shops are closed.
07:35 Za’tara/Tapuach: No soldiers in position; traffic is unobstructed. Large signs on the fence: “Mitzpeh Keramim is accepting families” calling for more settlers.
Many buses at the Shomron crossing.
A jeep in the parking lot at Za’tara, no one at the checkpoint. There’s also a jeep in the parking lot at Huwwara; no soldiers at the checkpoint, cars go through without being inspected.
The streets in the villages and towns are fairly deserted; people must still be asleep after their pre-dawn meal. An occasional military vehicle drives on the road in Huwwara and on the way to the village.
We took the road from Hars to Bidiya, passed Barkan and saw new housing construction there.
Three command cars stood at the entrance to Bidiya. Three soldiers stood by them with weapons drawn; five more soldiers were watching the road and stopping cars.
In the Hars today club we held an English class for the young women, and arranged to meet next week as well.