13:0 - Tyasir checkpoint
On our way we met pupils on their way home from the direction of Tyasir. At the checkpoint there are cabs that arrived from Tysere, their passengers mostly female students from Bardale. All passengers get off and walk to the pedestrians' inspection point. They come out within two minutes.
The cabs wait for them after completing the inspection at the vehicles inspection post.
Now, too, they are not delayed and walk through checkpoint quickly on their way home.
14:15 - Hamra checkpoint
Three soldiers are at the vehicles' inspection post. They inspect every single car- opening doors and circling the vehicle until they permit it to move on.
The soldiers yell at us, "Who are you?" Following an inquiry, they ask that we stand at a distance from the checkpoint.
Most of those going through are either students or workers. E., a student, tells us that life is bad and difficult. Roads are blocked, there is no work, and no electricity in his place of living.
Cars going to both direction are delayed for more than two minutes.
Guest, Michael Rierdon, writer on peace movements in Israel/Palestine
Along the road descending to the Jordan Valley, some of the road blocks which had been removed (possibly by the Palestinians) – were reinstalled.
Ma'ale Efrayim CP, 11:15
Only soldiers were present, no Palestinians. The structure and tower had been removed but were replaced by a courtyard encircled by high concrete panels, similar to those of the separation wall. We hadn't stopped to check out whether there was a structure within.
Hammara CP – 11:40-12:50
There was a line of five vehicles on their way from the Jordan Valley to the West Bank. Passage was very slow, taking about half an hour to get through. It was very hot and hazy, the dust obscuring vision. Despite the fact that most cars are not air-conditioned, the passengers preferred to wait in the blazing heat of the cars rather than in the outdoor noon-time furnace. Pedestrians coming from the direction of the Biq'a now need to cross on the road and not through the barrier, resulting in further delay for the cars (since cars are not summoned to proceed as long as there are pedestrians in the barrier area).
Having greeted three traditionally clad Palestinian women, they inquired who we were. Fascinated by our reply, they explained that they were Palestinians, born and living in Jordan, at Jebl Husein, unaware of the existence of peace groups. Jewish women? Amazed, but in admiration.
As usual, all passengers traveling from the West Bank to the Valley are required to get off the car and cross through on foot - and since inspection of the vehicles is a more lengthy procedure – to wait at the crossroads in the blazing sun. The men emerge from the barrier holding their belts. This is a harsh scene, particularly with older people. But the Palestinians tell us that today it was "a good barrier". Indeed, the soldiers were not cross, not brutal, they weren't even shouting. Nevertheless, this is a barrier, an illegal, immoral, obstacle in the lives of the Palestinians and even "a good Barrier" is bad.
On our way to Tayasir we came across some shepherds who told us about a new military regulation prohibiting the crossing over of the (Alon) road with their sheep. A shepherd was caught and fined INS1000 some days ago. This should be added to the list of alleviations granted the Palestinians that Israel is boasting of recently.
Tayasir CP 13:30-14:30
No lines and quick passage. An occasional car approaches the barrier and continues on its way within 5-10 minutes. The soldiers are oblivious of us and apparently of the Palestinians as well, with the delay at the barrier being minimal. They would have been pleased not to be there at all. Along the road we saw a full school bus stopping near a Bedouin campsite and some students getting off. It was good to see that finally, after four years, the school transportation service has been renewed' as it had been cancelled due to the impediment of barrier delays (resulting in immense distances that the children had to cover on foot or hitchhike).
Juniya CP/ Gate 15:00
Two Bedouin shepherds of the Hadidya clan and their tractor were waiting near the gate. They confirmed the evil restriction and that a fine was imposed on one of the shepherds. At 15:25 and following two phone calls to the DCO a jeep finally arrived and opened the gateway. A very thorough inspection and the soldiers searched again and again under the tractor. The shepherds were going eastward to Tamun to visit their kids who were at school there and were forced to live there with relatives during the week because of the gate's restricted passage schedule. The Geneva Convention lays responsibility on the occupier to provide for the health and education of the occupied population. The occupier in our case has not provided these facilities to the population but moreover, is hindering access to education by means of gates and barriers between the children and their schools. Those that cross over will, of necessity, be forced to remain on the other side until Sunday, when the gate will reopen again.
Jordan Valley, 20.9.09
Translation: Bracha B.A.
The emptiness is astounding. Today is the first day of Eid el Fitr – the Moslem holiday marking the end of the month of Ramadan on which women go to visit relatives who live elsewhere: sisters, daughters, mothers, aunts. All the checkpoints are empty. More than anything the ghostly quiet the prevails at the checkpoints tells the situation of the Palestinians – they have no strength to cope with the degradation, insecurity, and the pleasing to proud and power-hungry children. I missed the lines and the pushing crowds rather than see the desolate holiday that no one was celebrating.
12:30 Tapuach Checkpoint (Daatra Junction)
There are no lines. A single car is being checked quickly. There are no pedestrians since it is not permitted to cross this checkpoint on foot.
12:50 – Ma’aleh Ephraim
One car is being checked for a long time (about ten minutes).
13:45 – Hamra Checkpoint
Here, too, there are few people. A family – an elderly father and mother and three children, originally from Forush Beit Dejan just east of the checkpoint but today they live in Nablus. They want to visit their siblings in Forush Beit Dejan, but they are not being allowed to cross in their car. They ask that consideration be given because of the holiday and the special measures that have been promised.
I also approach the Liaison and Coordination Administration officer and try to persuade him to carry these measures out, but nothing helps. They have to go through on foot and continue without their car because it is registered in Nablus. After about a half hour of pleading they leave their car on the western side of the checkpoint. They take out pots filled with food and sweets and begin walking. After about 500 meters we see a tractor (apparently the brother) who arrived from the east and loaded everyone on.
The soldiers, as usual, are extremely hostile. The commander is, on the other hand, polite, and tried to keep us away and when we insist, he lets us. One of the soldiers declares a strike in response. He sits down on a chair in the shade of the shelter of course, and refuses to work. He says to his commander, “And if they were Arabs, would you let them stand there?” (“There” referred to the edge of the shelter that was set up for the Palestinians but where they were forbidden to stand.) “They’re worse than the Arabs,” he adds.
The few people crossing are all dressed in holiday clothes, suits and sparkling dresses and have to get out of their cars and taxis and walk about 300 meters through the dusty checkpoint.
Liaison and Coordination Administration officer arrives. We tell him that we are going on to Gochia Gate.
15:00 Gochia Gate/Checkpoint
15:20 – Tayasir Checkpoint
Here, too, there are few people, but more than there were at Hamra Checkpoint. The men get out of the cars that are going from the Jordan Valley to the West Bank and line up to have their documents checked. Those coming from the east have to get out in front of the checkpoint and pass through on foot. A mother with children comes to be checked, and the children go through in front of her through the turnstile and wait for her on the other side of the checkpoint. The soldier barks at them to get out of the checkpoint. The children are frightened but don’t want to go far from their mother and go out slowly, stealing glances behind them to wait for their mother.
An old woman passes through the magnometer with a small bag. The magnometer beeps and the soldier tells her in Hebrew to go back through the magnometer without the bag. She does not understand him and stand there confused. She then hands the bag to the soldier but he doesn’t want it, so she extends the bag to another one. The soldiers lose patience and repeat the order angrily. The woman freezes, helpless. Finally after trial and error she does what they want and goes through.
Again the checkpoint commander tries to move us away and we insist on staying. We left at 16:20.
We made a holiday visit to the Hadida and Salamin families who are next to the Ro’i and Bik’ot settlements. Abu Sakker’s son was arrested this week by the head of security at Ro’i and several other soldiers. They surrounded him with their jeeps time after time in smaller and smaller circles and he was closed in with the sheep until they ran over three sheep – one of which was killed and two goats were injured. The policemen that were called suggested that Abu Sakker conduct a sulha (a ceremony to mark an end to the quarrel) with the settlers and he refused. What good would that do? They want to evict Hadida’s people from there anyway.
We sat with the families who were very happy that we came and received us warmly, and it was a shame to have to leave (they suggested that we stay to spend the night). On the way back we saw that the Hamra Checkpoint and Ma’aleh Ephraim were empty.
Comment: The whole valley has apparently been turned into a firing area for the IDF. The overall aridity and poverty go hand in hand, except for the green, green patches of land near the Jewish settlements.
11.00 - Ma’alé Efraim checkpoint:
11.15 - Hamra checkpoint.
There is almost no traffic.
From Nablus: a line of 1 or 2, at the most 4 cars waiting.
To Nablus: idem
In spite of the fact that there is so little traffic the soldiers seem to be sleeping: they let the drivers bake in their cars for minutes on end: even five minutes in the sweltering heat are unbearable.
One driver had the pertinence to hit his horn shyly and very briefly, probably under the impression he had to wake someone up.
Let us not forget that our soldiers are doing the Palestinians a favor by letting them through the checkpoint!
The normal procedure: passengers coming from Nablus get out of the car to be checked personally and walk the 300 meters to be picked up by their transporter.
We met Fatchi , the coordinator of Palestinian Solidarity social services for the Jordan Valley, and loaded many packages of clothes on to his 4-wheel-drive truck. We considered accompanying him on his visit to the nearby Bedouin village but thought better of it as our car did not seem up to a drive on the stony, unpaved road.
Continuing on route 578, all along the stretch of 23 km. we see that the desert is littered with concrete slabs with writing on them, in English, Arabic and Hebrew, which says: “DANGER, firing area, entrance forbidden“ And, ludicrouly: we notice these especially at the entrance of every path leading towards a Bedouin encampment, except one*, where, according to a signpost, international organizations support the local population.
In a conversation we had with two Bedouin women and their common husband we understood: “….indeed groups of soldiers come there every week for three or so days for firing range training. Then the inhabitants have to leave; they move their tents for the duration and return after the soldiers have left.…..Recently a horse was stolen by settlers from Hemda. The Israeli police told them to file a complaint with the Palestinian Authority. Eventually they asked assistance from the Red Crescent. Some months before the same thing happened and their horse was then returned by soldiers of the Kfir Brigade, stationed in that area.
….They have a house in Udja (near Jericho) where the third wife lives with her children, who go to school there.
…Originally they came from Atir (near Beer Sheva), from where they were expelled in’48…” 13.00 Checkpoint Tayasir:
(*on our way here we saw this signpost)No special problems, hardly any traffic. as the saying goes: “only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun."
We stopped on our way back at the remains of Hamam el Malik, to inquire about the well-being of the Bedouins who live there. We were received warmly, and invited to climb up to the upper rooms and sit down on one of the cots for a friendly chat in the utterly bare surroundings.
14.00 In the hope of finding something to drink and a snack we travel northwards to Mechola. Alas, the grocer there, the only one in the neighborhood, has closed until 16.00. We try our luck about 10 km. southwards on route 90 where once we made a refreshment stop, but the gas station, the restaurant, as well as the hotel, all are deserted. At Maskiot we want to verify the news that the settlement is building the infrastructure for new houses; we think we discerned some prefabs, but although the gate is opened for us we do not feel really welcome and decide not to pursue our search. Along the road leading towards the settlement a long row of new tree-saplings are planted: surely not a sign of settlements-freeze!
15.00 We wait to see if the gate for the Bedouin at Ghochia, opposite the Jewish settlements of Ro’ee (with its flourishing, green fields!) will be opened.
On the main road an army-car stands waiting with a rotating light, but as there are no Bedouins wanting to pass and we just look at each other until we leave at 15.20: no need to open the gate.
TRANSLATION – Deborah Lipetz
This is my first shift at the Jordan Valley checkpoints and possibly my first time in the Jordan Valley, period. The view is breathtaking. It is the end of the summer and the heat is overwhelming. The impressive desert mountains are barren and dry. It is a period of draught and severe water shortage. On the sides of the road, to our left and to our right, are dotted oasis of green, very green, which are the settlements and their greenhouses. In contrast, there are the camps of grey, dark Bedouin tents with herds of goats or sheep. The skinny cows whose ribs are painfully sticking out make do with the clumps of yellowed grasses. Occasionally there is evidence of old stone structures that have been destroyed. Perhaps they are what are left of Palestinian villages, memories of other times.
11:45AM Gititt Checkpoint
Barely any traffic, no one is being checked. A lone soldier sitting, looking bored, on the side of the road. The booths are not manned.
12:10 Hamra Checkpoint
When we arrive there is a line of about three or four vehicles. There is a lazy feel to the operation of the checkpoint. Two soldiers are in the vehicle checking booth and they both check the vehicles – one time the traffic coming from Nablus and the next time the traffic coming from the Jordan Valley. The vehicles going toward the west bank are stopped and questioned while the vehicles coming from there are checked thoroughly—the trunk, the passenger section, and the IDs of the drivers. Passengers coming from the west must leave the vehicles and go through a pedestrian check point.
We see some passengers coming from the east who go by way of the vehicle checkpoint, and those who choose to go by way of the pedestrian checkpoint. It is very hot, about 40 degrees Celsius, and the area where pedestrians are dropped off is a 3 minute walk to the checking booths. All the passengers coming from the direction of Nablus must walk—women with babies in their arms and the aged along with the men and the young.
We wonder who these people are that are traveling in the middle of the day and we try to get the attention of two young men leaving the pedestrian area on their way to the Jordan Valley. However, a soldier from the watch tower doesn't want this communication to happen and he hurries the men along by shouting to them to continue on their way.
We are standing at the edge of the pedestrian shed and we hear some of the conversation between the soldiers. They are speaking to someone or something that we can't see. It sounds like asomeone talking to a dog—actually a loving tone, not an aggressive one. However, we don't see anyone from the trained dog division nor do we see a dog or a cat roaming around. We try to get a bit closer to see what's going on but the soldiers warn us not to. We then hear the soldier from the watch tower on the other side of the road as he shouts to the other soldiers at the vehicle checking booth, "The man who is tied up wants water." We also don't see any person tied up anywhere. The atmosphere is heavy from the heat and from the mysteriousness of what is going on.
Deborah calls the DCO and they tell her that there was, indeed, a detainee at the CP but he has since been picked up and taken for a medical check. We didn't see a detainee being picked up and the answer we got bothers us. I call Saed of the DCO. He also says that a detainee has already been picked up and is having a medical check up. "I was at the headquarters when he arrived," Saed says and he is convinced that there is absolutely no detainee presently at CP Hamra. "A medical check-up", I ask?"Yes, it is routine," Saed answers. Hmmm…I haven't heard of that routine at the checkpoints but what's more important at this point is that "the man who is tied up…" issue will be cleared up. I repeat what we heard from the soldier in the watch tower and Saed again says that he is sure there is no detainee at the checkpoint. We don't succeed in getting any other information.
13:10 We leave Hamra checkpoint and continue to the checkpoint at Tayasira. Bqa'ot, a settlement on the way which is on our right, is green while the plowed fields on our left our dry.
13:20 Tayasira Checkpoint
Very quiet here with almost no traffic.A minibus arrives near the vehicle checkpoint from the west and about ten passengers, including women and babies, get out and walk toward the pedestrian checking area. Soldiers in the pedestrian area take a megaphone and shout at the small group of pedestrians as they are approaching (they are walking slowly since it is too hot to hurry): "Taal, Waachd, Waachd." And again, "Taal, Waachd, Waachd," as if a mass of people are about to run the soldiers down. Every pedestrian is checked, as well as his possessions. One youth is holding a plastic bag which has two transistors. "Do they look stolen", asks one soldier to another? But the air is to hot, the atmosphere too sleepy, and the question too illusionary to relate to seriously. The second soldier returns the transistors to the youth and signals him to move on.
14:30 We leave Tayasira.
14:55 Gochia Gate
This agricultural gate is opened twice a day, three times a week.When we arrive the gate is still locked. A family with a tractor that is carrying water containers waits for the soldiers to open the gate. Two young women and an older woman are squatting in the shade of the tractor. Three young men come to chat with us. They tell us how they are related and we try to understand with the little Arabic that we know.
The gate is scheduled to open at 15:00. It is now 15:05 so Deborah calls the DCO and in 2 minutes an army jeep with soldiers arrives and opens the gate. However, before they allow the family to continue on their way, they check their IDs and ask some questions. After a few minutes the whole family gets on the tractor and they wave good- by continuing on their way home to prepare their end of the Ramadan fast day meal. There are no others waiting and the young men told us, if we understood correctly, that they were the only ones who would pass through today. The soldiers tell us that they are forbidden to talk to us. We don't have anything more to do so we head for the car. As we are still walking, a soldier shouts at us, "Maybe you'd like to interview us after all?" We say no thanks and return to the air conditioned car.
04:20 Maale Ephraim Checkpoint
In the darkness ten cars are in line from the direction of Nablus. In each car workers who have to be checked before they are allowed to continue to the Valley to work in the settlements. A group of people stand under the roof waiting for the soldier to call them. Some are very young, 12 or 13. When the soldier wants us to back off, I ask how come settlers are allowed to stand inside the checkpoint to catch lifts. His answer: "the people who live here are of a different kind."
05:10 Hamra Checkpoint
The men leave the checking area with their belts in their hands, and either stop to fix or do it while walking. The soldiers’ dog races around everywhere.
The placard before the checkpoint has been dressed in a soldier’s shirt and helmet. The soldiers ask the Palestinians questions in Hebrew that they do not understand. The men driving cars are ordered to undress before they approach the soldiers.
We stopped by the spring next to the turn from Allon Road to Tayasir. Higher up behind the hill is the settlement of Rotem which seems from the distance like a desert oasis, flush with greenery of all kinds. The people living them make a habit of strolling down to bathe in the spring. The residents of the encampments are forbidden the use of the area’s many water sources. They drive on tractors hitched to tanks in order to bring water from nearby villages. If they try to take water from the spring, an inspector from the Nature Reserve Authority arrives to forbid them.
07:45 Gucia (Gate) Checkpoint
We arrived at the checkpoint which was supposed to open at 08:00 for half an hour today. Just before the checkpoint we meet a friend: E. Emotionally he tells us that a few minutes ago an army patrol grabbed his brother who was grazing his flock 300 metres from their tent camp, and took him to Hamra. E. was on the way to collect the flock. We drove on to Hamra.
The soldiers (about 20) stop the traffic and don’t agree to pass anyone. There is no visible reason and they refuse to explain. They don’t seem particularly tense. Some are smoking, all are joking between themselves. A soldier lays tefillin and starts to pray in the pedestrian hut.
From both sides a line of 15 cars. In all our calls to the DCO, the same answer: "The soldiers say the checkpoint is open." But it is closed – fact!
When we come back, 20 minutes later, there are many more soldiers at the checkpoint. G. goes to an officer and shows him the ID. The officer starts to provoke: it’s not the first time that the brother has been caught without ID, and the officer does not intend to release him. In his despair, G. shows the officer a restraint order against demolition of their tent, explaining that if they can live there, they can also graze their flock.
It’s 10:00 and the soldiers again close the checkpoint. This time they say it’s because of our presence. Clearly from their behaviour, they don’t like our friendship with the brothers.
We pull back in order not to influence in the release of the shepherd. After another 20 minutes the officer relents, hands over the ID and lets the brothers go. After a few steps they are called by other soldiers, who order the shepherd to sit on the nearby rail and tell him he is not released yet. I go over to say that we are leaving, in the hope that this will cause them to release him.
We move away and sit in the car at a distance from the checkpoint. G. comes over, agitated, hardly able to speak. The soldiers put his brother back in the pen and started to kick him. We run to the pen and stand between the soldiers and the shepherd. One of the soldiers comes up and, with raised hand to strike, says: "Nobody has hit him, but I’ll immediately hit you..." Other soldiers drag him away. After ten minutes of threats against the brothers, DCO officer Majdi appears and releases the brothers. G. refuses to leave. He wants to submit a complaint. The checkpoint commander refuses to give his name. One of the officers again approaches the brothers with threatening gestures, and Majdi send him back, saying that he will deal with the complaint.
At 11:00 we part with G. and his brother, who climb on the tractor to go home, as we drive towards Tel Aviv.
12:30 Hamra Checkpoint
Very hot. Ten drivers waiting for the soldiers to check them. A soldier sits behind a cracked plastic screen checking pedestrian IDs against the computer, and asking questions of the people standing in front of him. A young soldier orders an older Palestinian to approach by a small wave of the hand. In the opposite direction, passengers on a bus hold their ID cards against the windows while a soldier walks by studying them.
On the hills next to Hamra two small waterholes still not covered in Mekorot’s pumping facility. Two brothers, 10 and 14, use a primitive pump to fill water containers. They live in a nearby encampment and explain that this is instead of a long journey to get water, and there’s no money for petrol: "The Jews don’t allow us to take water."
A passing taxi driver complains about being forced to expose his belly to everyone in order to pass, like at Hamra, The humiliation of the act does not lessen though he goes through it every day. He says: "An Arab stands at the checkpoint, an Israeli sits in air conditioning." A soldier peers into every car. Straw sticking out of him mouth, reggae music playing on his phone, he makes small gestures telling people what to do. A tall youngster passes, and the soldier thinks he is too old for the age written in his ID, and consults the other soldier with a worried expression.
A driver from Ein el Shibli says that people from the encampments come to them to ask for water. Everyone gives, but not the amount they need because there isn’t enough.
13:30 Maalei Ephraim – no Palestinian cars. We didn’t stop.
Along the Allon Road (578), earth mounds, concrete blocks and a deep trench, all to prevent passage from the West Bank to the Jordan Valley, or the reverse, other than through the checkpoints. Not one stone removed and no sense of easement at the checkpoints.
The Jordan Valley is closed, locked off, as always.
When we arrive, we see long lines of cars, 14 from the east and 16 from the direction of Nablus. No checking activity visible when we arrive, which explains the long lines. From the moment of our arrival and within five minutes the line from the east vanishes, but from Nablus the line remains long throughout our shift.
14:10 – we phone the DCO to protest the slowness of the soldiers and the length of the lines.
The soldiers are shaken by our move and shout to each other "see the mess! Call the police..."
No lines when we arrive. Two cars from east and two from west. The soldiers immediately come over to drive us away. When we refuse to go, they close the checkpoint. When the line from the east reaches five cars, we phone the DCO and back off 30 metres from the checkpoint. The checkpoint opens and two cars pass, but then the commander decides that our distance is not to his liking, and demands that we move another 50 metres. We refuse and he again closes the checkpoint. Very hot, and every minute spent waiting in the cars is torture.
Tto our joy there were this week no exceptional occurrences, no new demolition orders or attempts to destroy. Perhaps the international pressure and the world’s opened eyes to see what Israel is doing in the valley, have prevented destruction at this stage.
No Palestinians, only two settlers stuck in the centre of the checkpoint, in the soldiers’ emplacement, looking for a ride.
Translation: Bracha B.A.
11:00 Hamra Checkpoint
The lights are on at the checkpoint. Drivers from every direction are waiting in line for soldiers to signal them when to drive forward. “Get back. Take off your belt, your shoes, your watch, anything that you have with metal,” but he does not look at the man after he does what he has been told.
A group of young Palestinians dressed fashionably receives more serious attention and less harassment than a couple of farmers dressed in traditional clothing who are checked immediately afterwards.
People are called to come up in groups “Hamsa, hamsa” (five, five) or “Wahad wahad” (one by one) or “Talata talata” (three by three) – Everyone going through has to squeeze through the space between two concrete blocks that is only as wide as a slim person.
We visited the residents of the tent camp who live next to the Tayasir Junction from the Alon Road. They have been living here since 1967 and unlike other people they did not receive eviction order but they have other difficulties. They are not allowed to make a path to reach their fields with a tractor. There is an army officer (whose name we know) who harasses them – he scatters their sheep, cuts ropes, and threatens. Sometimes he is accompanied by people from the settlements of Maskiot or Hemdat. We have heard about his harassment many times from others.
12:40 Tayasir Checkpoint
The soldier pokes a pile of hay on a truck with his rifle. “Certificate!” he shouts in Hebrew to the 14-year old girl who wants to go through. “Abla” (idiot) he calls to an elderly man, and another soldier searches the car as if it were his. A woman about 70 years old gets out of the car and walks slowly along the pedestrian path. A woman with a newborn infant is squeezes between the steel turnstile with difficulty. Four children go through the shed to the soldiers’ booth together, holding hands.
15:00 Gukhia Gate
No Palestinians are arriving and it is not clear whether the soldiers see that there is no one waiting from the watchtower and are deciding not to come, or whether they are late or not there. At any rate the gate was supposed to open from 15:00 to 15:30 did not open.
15:15: Hamra Checkpoint
A soldier asks a man, “What exactly to you teach?” After he nods in approval as another man takes off his clothing. “Is that you?” the soldiers asks looking at his ID. He waves his arm above his head. “Go on, go on.”
Visitors from the Committee Against House Demolitions
We visited a number of families following the massive demolition of encampments in recent weeks, demolition orders that were served, signs placed alongside every tent on the Allon Road and the route to Tayasir proclaiming the areas to be "military," and the harassment of shepherd families in the last period.
2. Next to Kfir Brigade base we saw scores of concrete cubes which the same legend as on those next to the encampments, declaring a closed military area – the same kind of cubes as those used to block vehicle entry throughout the West Bank. We assume that the army intends to use them to block tractors from entering the encampments along the Allon and Tayasir roads, thereby making the transfer more efficient.
We entered Rotem settlement where one of the residents explained that they are building houses outside the fence. We observed the settlement of Maskiot where a number of caravans are positioned next to a crane, and maybe this is also new construction.
15:00 Tayasir Checkpoint
The passengers from two cars are waiting to be checked en route from Nablus to the Valley. The soldiers interrogate the transients, young and old, regarding their place of residence, their activities and whatever comes to the soldiers’ minds. The Palestinians have to answer every question. The drivers continue to be publicly humiliated without any logic by the instruction to expose their bellies and pirouette before reentering the cars to approach the soldiers.
The passengers are forced to cross the checkpoint on foot and in pairs, threes or whatever the soldiers decide at the moment.
Three cars in each direction. The soldiers check one direction at a time. The dogs that the soldiers are rearing still circulate in the hut, providing yet another block in the way of pedestrians. Here too the soldiers ask personal questions, in a language foreign to the transients, and here too the drivers are forced to expose their bellies.