*We have been told that security official of Maskiyot colony drives his vehicle wildly though a Bedouin encampment. He topples down the tent dwelling of a 90-year old man. Is this another harassment of Bedouins living near the colony, who are afraid to ?complain
*Gochia Gate is not opened. This happens maby times. Thus, tractors to the west of Alon Road are denied passage. Unlike them, colonists’ mini-tractors bypass this gate without any problems, and not for any work purposes but for simple fun.
*The Tyassir checkpoint commander helped us out with our car at a difficult moment.
11:30 Tapuach Junction Checkpoint
Manned with soldiers checking vehicles coming from Huwwara Checkpoint (Nablus).
No waiting line.
11:40 Qusra Village
There have not been any exceptional events this past week. Today is the first day of the olive harvest. School children are off and we see whole families harvesting their olive trees all along the way.
12:05 Maale Efrayim Checkpoint - No soldiers in sight.
12:20 Hamra Checkpoint
No vehicles seen at the checkpoint. A single truck carrying vegetables comes from the west. We did not stay.
Mekhora colony has largely expanded its farming area, both with fruit groves and with fields freshly plowed for the sowing season.
At Kadri’s, below Maskiyot colony:
At the foot of the hill occupied by Maskiyot is a small spring where the shepherds used to water their flocks as they return from their grazing areas. Among other forms of harassment practiced by the Maskiyot colonists against their Bedouin neighbors, they also chase the shepherds away from the water source. One should note that Maskiyot have no flocks and this is not a battle over water, especially since all the Jewish colonies receive cheap water from Mekorot (National) water company, while the Bedouins must purchase and transport water at least ten times more expensive. So this is pure harassment. There was a time when the shepherds were too afraid to approach the spring. Two days ago, apparently, someone did bring his flock to the water and then, as we have been told, the colony’s security official – arrived and began to drive amok with his vehicle. He entered the tent of the family’s grandfather – 90 years old – and destroyed it, then drove wildly around the sheep pen.
Every time we visit this encampment we hear about Maskiyot settlers’ harassment,and especially by Rami. The army authorities in this area must be backing him up and he takes the liberty to do as he pleases. The Bedouins are too afraid to lodge complaints. When they did dare to do so, local army officials backed him up. Thus too in the spring instance, as well as a case where he demanded that a family living near the colony be expelled. No doubt it is the colonists’ interest to distance the Palestinians living nearby. The land is registered officially under the name of the family living on it, so that the colonists apparently want to terrorize them away. And the army? Perhaps it shares their interests?
We were told there of another incident: 3 camels belonging to a Bedouin living around Jericho had run off. 3 days later they were found in the olive groves of Rotem Colony. The local security official summoned the police. He claimed the camels had damaged his fruit grove. The policeman (Nissim) arrived and demanded the Bedouin owner of the camels pay a fine of 1300 NIS, without any court proceedings, or else he’d be detained at the Maale Efrayim police station. The man is scheduled for trial. A penniless Bedouin who certainly has no funds to pay for a lawyer will stand trial in an Israeli court, sued by the colony and its lawyers (whom it can afford) – there is no official body that can come to his aid. He speaks no Hebrew, knows nothing of Israeli legal proceedings, and all this assuming (wrongly?) that the court would treat both parties equally.
Another face of Israeli Occupation.
While we were there, Aref Darajma arrived, head of the local authority of the Northern West Bank.
14:15 Tyassir Checkpoint
Here, too, there was hardly any traffic today. Just an occasional vehicle now and then. When we needed to leave, we couldn’t get our car started. An unpleasant situation…
We sought help from the checkpoint commander, a second lieutenant, who willingly assisted. After a few attempts on his part and another soldier’s, the engine yielded and we drove off.
15:00 Gochia Checkpoint
As often happens lately, at least ever since the combat demolition corps men have manned this area, the checkpoint was not opened. We called Zaharan of the DCO. He spoke with whoever he needed to, and was told that a jeep was sent to open the gate, but the jeep never arrived. In other words, he was lied to.
For several months now the Bedouins do not come to this gate because no one opens it for them even in the officially allotted opening times – for half an hour twice a day three times a week. On the other hand, a pack of 4 fancy mini-tractors, such as affluent suburban Israeli kids would be proud to flaunt, bypassed the gate without any hesitation. The machines and the boys with their helmets and brand sports wear. The good life of the settler kids, indeed, contrasted with the dire poverty of the surrounding population. Would they have been prosecuted too for bypassing the gate?
16:00 Maale Efrayim Checkpoint - Unmanned.
16:15 Tapuach Junction Checkpoint - Vehicles coming from Huwwara are checked. 4 cars waiting in line. Soldiers spread a barbed wire roll along the middle of the roundabout for some unclear reason.
Translated by Yael S.
On the way by Ariel we tried entering Salpeet, but the entrance is closed and the female soldier who is on guard duty told us that is is A zone.
1:45 - Hamra checkpoint
There is no line, a vehicle arrives and following a 2-minutes inspection is free to proceed. A fellow who came out of inspection tells us that his bag was opened and all books were thrown out of it and his wallet was opened as well. While we were standing there cars and buses which were parked in the direction of Nablus were not inspected.
2:20 - Tayasir checkpoint
We arrived at a change of shifts. Inspection came to halt which created a line of 9 cars. One of the drivers said that he has been waiting for half an hour. Following the resumption of inspection the line vanishes within a few minutes.
3:05 - Gochya checkpoint
No military vehicle on site. We began making phone calls to the Jerico DCO and its people (Idan no longer works for the DCO) Finally at 3:35 a military Jeep arrived, but the soldiers refused to talk to us. No Palestinian on site.
3:45- We left.
4:40 - Ma'ale Ephraim checkpoint
The post is manned on its Eastern side, and vehicles are inspected.
Huwwara checkpoint is open but we saw a soldier at the lookout post making a turn to Wisconsin road. At the turn to Yitshar a military Jeep was standing. On our way to Huwwara we saw a military Jeep making rounds in the village's alleys.
The post is manned but they do not inspect vehicles.
5:00 - Kifle Hares
There is inspection at the gate and a lookout from the tower.
Maale Ephraim 12:15 – 13:00
A jewish woman emerges from a car with Israeli license plates. She smiles at the soldiers and offers them cake, apologizing that she hasn't brought enough for all of them , "you are wonderful" she says. Before leaving she hands the soldiers a piece of paper. "these three are expected", and she mentions 3 arab names. "don't delay them at the checkpoint".
Tayasir checkpoint 13:45-14:30
Gochya checkpoint 15:00-16:30
In the roads of the valley
Gochiya checkpoint, which is opposite Beqaot settlement, is a metal bar blocking a dirt road in the Jordan Valley that prevents residents living in the eastern Jordan Valley from travelling freely to the western Jordan Valley and back again. This checkpoint, which is supposed to open only three times a week for half an hour (and usually doesn’t open at all), prevents residents living in the eastern Jordan Valley from accessing the town of Tamun, for example, which serves as a regional urban center. They’re prevented from maintaining contact with family members, obtaining medical treatment, getting to school and shopping, etc. Children from the eastern Jordan Valley are compelled to live during the week with families in Tamun to insure they are able to attend school regularly. The locals must make long detours, and risk severe punishment if they’re caught. In order to prevent them from bypassing the checkpoint, the IDF dug a series of long, deep ditches around the checkpoint and created very high earthen berms.
Translator: Charles K.
Most of the shift was devoted to filming an interview with F. for the film we’re making on the Jordan Valley.
A summary of his story will appear at the end of this report, because it’s the tale of the Jordan Valley.
11:10 Ma’aleh Efra’im
No soldiers at the checkpoint, although many young settlers are hanging around inside, sitting in the soldiers’ booth and demonstrating they’re in charge here.
11:50 Hamra checkpoint
People cross on foot, exiting holding their belts. A young man approaches complaining his wife and infant daughter aren’t being allowed through; she was sent back to Nablus. Before we were able to do anything, they came through. The soldiers’ water tank is still in the shed erected for the waiting Palestinians. They, of course, wait in the burning sun for their cars to be inspected.
The checkpoint commander tells us to move back to the junction (about 100 meters from the checkpoint). We refuse and remain where usually stand. Hecloses the checkpoint (life stops). After a line of 18 cars forms to the west (from the West Bank, coming into the Jordan Valley) we decide to leave. We complained to the legal advisor.
13:30– We receive a phone call telling us that a member of the Palestinian Hadidya family was stopped this morning near the ditches that divide the Jordan Valley from the West Bank. The man had come to the Guchya gate, which is supposed to be open three times a week so Palestinians could cross, and waited until 8:30, but the army didn’t arrive to open the gate. Recently the gate often hasn’t opened at all, so he apparently looked for another way to continue. He was detained until 15:15 at theTayasir checkpoint, as punishment.
Why does it take such a long time?
The man was checked and found to be kosher. The tractor is “still being checked.”
Members of F.’s family are the registered owners of 248 dunums of land on both sides of the road to the Tayasir checkpoint, about one kilometer to the east. They’ve lived there forever, raised vegetables and kept sheep. After the area was captured in 1967, the army began training on the family’s land, as it does throughout the Jordan Valley. The family’s land became a playground for firing and artillery practice, bullets and mines lay on the ground, shots flew above the heads of the children and the family had no peace. In 1979 F.’s 14-year old brother was killed by an artillery shell. A mine was left on the family’s land. The parents gave up and decided to leave so that the other children wouldn’t be hurt. They moved to the village of Aqaba – about one kilometer west of the checkpoint, and settled there, but continued to work their land. They rode their donkeys there daily. When the intifada erupted in 2000 the checkpoint was closed, and later everyone living west of the checkpoint was forbidden to enter the Jordan Valley. The family could no longer reach and cultivate its land. The army used the opportunity to take over the land and, later, when the family asked to cultivate it again the army refused to allow it to enter the area at all, claiming it was a training site.
We were on the outskirts of the area. F. didn’t dare go in for fear of mines and firing. Where we stood we found parts of artillery shells, live bullets, pipes with marks indicating they’d been shot at, empty boxes of bullets, etc. – a real battlefield.
Five years ago F. bought a small plot of land in el Farsiyaand began raising vegetables, and even planted olive trees. He obtained water from a spring he leased from its Palestinian owner in Tayasir. The spring is located about three kilometers from his new plot of land. Two and a half years ago the army cut the water pipes, claiming that the spring is a nature preserve! And that it’s forbidden to pump water from it. The army sets the entire Jordan Valley on fire, but wherever a Palestinians wants to settle, or to make a living, becomes forbidden for one reason or another!
Having no choice, F. began drawing water from Wadi el Malih– a small channel that dries up in the summer, and whose water is very saline. The water isn’t appropriate for most crops, so he grows what he can. Lo and behold – that was also no good as far as the occupation regime is concerned. In May of this year the army confiscated both the pumps which brought water to F.’s land, claiming this time that “You’re drying up the Sea of Galilee”!!
Since then, the land has been dry and barren. Volunteers from the Jordan Valley Solidarity organization laid a narrow pipe from the Ein el Bida spring, hoping that he’d be able to grow crops again this year in greenhouses. We can assume the army will find an excuse to prevent him from doing so.
The new military Order Regarding Prevention of Infiltration and Order Regarding Security Provisions does not define what a valid permit is, but is so ambiguously worded that, theoretically, it allows the military to empty the West Bank of almost all its Palestinian inhabitants. Recently, a number of articles in the media have asked "What does Netanyahu want?" The question is, in fact, posed too specifically, since it's not a question of Netanyahu but of the "Israeli authorities," including the army that seems to be creating facts on the ground which can have no good ending for either Palestinians or Israelis. But in the Jordan Valley, it seems remarkably clear, particularly in the vast area that constitutes the Jordan Valley: "colonization," "land grab," "transfer," "evacuation of people," "eviction." Whatever its nomenclature, it's all an affront to the most fundamental principles of human rights.
12:00 On Route 5
At Marda, before Zeita, traffic, Palestinian and Israeli vehicles, grind to a complete halt. No movement of traffic in either direction for a while. People get out of cars, we place our MW flag and signs, and still nothing moves. Ten minutes later, a few cars come from the East. A Palestinian car stops by us, the driver leaning out of his window, saying, only slightly puzzled, "Who knows what's going on? Maybe something on the road?" As he speaks, a settler car hoots loudly and viciously behind him. They both move on, westwards.
12:20-12:30 Zaatara-Maale Efraim Jct.
The large junction at Zaatara seems to be flowing smoothly, no traffic stops here, and the Maale Efraim checkpoint is a joke. It is there, as are soldiers who pay no heed to passing vehicles.
Route 508 to Hamra
A beautiful winding road, on the east side of a mountain, with extensive views over the Jordan Valley proper, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the mountains of Moab in the distance. The greens at this time of year are still startlingly bright, and the reflection of the scudding clouds on the distant mountains is particularly arresting. The settlements here are rural, not like the suburban ones around Tulkarm, Qalqiliya and Nablus. They are, or were, agricultural, but several of them, such as Mekhora, look in pretty bad shape. Others grow grapes, clearly a new crop, and everywhere the Mekorot water plants, closely guarded by barbed wire and fencing, provide the settlements, failing or otherwise, with water.
12:55 Hamra and Route 578 to Tayasir
As we arrive at the checkpoint, we note a pickup truck that has to turn back in the Nablus direction.
13:00 Two soldiers approach us. The commander, I., looks clueless although he protests that he has heard of MachsomWatch and insists that we‘re "not to bother the soldiers."
We have no chance to do much of anything, as S. approaches us, a volunteer of Jordan Valley Solidarity, remembers meeting before, and suggests that we accompany F. as there are plenty of "interesting" things going on. By now, F., also of Jordan Valley Solidarity, who has crossed the checkpoint in his car, whereas S. has had to walk, joins us, and we now begin to follow his car in ours, past the settlements of Beqaot and Roi and through a gate, which, we notice, is electrically wired, albeit open at this early afternoon hour.
F. speeds along a rutted dirt path, hardly a road, as we try to steer our way over the rocky terrain. On one side of us, the well tilled fields of the settlement, on the other side, the hilltop, already brown and barren, which has what we don't know beyond. Eventually, after a bend in the road, a few Bedouin tents appear, and, sure enough, there is F.'s car.
As we sit with a few men and one woman, including, clearly, the man who is the "pater familias" in a far different world, we learn that the gate of El Hadidiye has already been closed for a few weeks, and, as an aside, the Guchia Gate likewise: (before, the latter was opened sporadically, but no more).
Now, the latest of a series of harassments: the water has been cut off to El Hadidiye, and the community consists not just of this family but many more on the hilltop above. We noted, of course, the large Mekorot pumping station just below the tents and, but for today's strong wind, no doubt we could hear its engines purring. Three tiers of barbed wire, and, according to F., an alarm system which tells of infiltrators (although how anybody can get past this barricade is beyond us).
Then, another story, that anybody going out from this community in a Palestinian car, beyond the electrically wired gate, would be taken to Hamra checkpoint, to be dealt with by soldiers. An open air prison, a ghetto without walls: that's life, if it can be called thus, for these Bedouin Palestinians. The media have been informed of the cut water, but the story is not "policy" per se, rather an individual Mekorot employee who wishes to flex his muscles (to look good to his bosses?), but nevertheless, a man, Israeli, who is willing to take sheep and vegetables from the poverty stricken Bedouin whenever his whim dictates that he does so. Life under Occupation; and the Occupation makes everything rotten, as we know.....
More wisely than many an Israeli analyst or journalist, F. tells us, "The State is destroying itself." Indeed.
To try to understand what is going on, we look at the vast landscape before us, the hills, the mountains beyond, the settlement's green houses and planted fields, and it's obvious what "they" want. To add these pastures and this hillside to their own settlement, to water it from the plant which is already in place. What could be easier? Or more evil?
14:00 -- just to remind us where we are, midst baby goats and lambs and small children, an army helicopter, ugly in its dark colors against the muted colors of this landscape, hovers overhead.
And following this intrusion, we observe a tractor arrive, laden with, even from the distance we're observing, what looks like wilted lettuce. Indeed it is. These lettuces from the settlement beyond aren't good enough for the European or Israeli market, and the Palestinian tractor driver has been asked to bring this load and to dump it, or sell it, in the Nablus market. F. will take some samples to the Ministry of Agriculture in Palestine.
We continue along Route 578, noting the numerous fresh dark earth colored hillocks, dug up by the army, with trenches below, making certain that no Palestinians cross them or come in the vicinity of any settlement along the way.
The headquarters of Kfir (Young Lion) Brigade has a huge military camp, an eyesore in this beautiful landscape.
At the turn off to Tayasir, we don't note anything amiss with the area around Hammam-Al-Malih, although we've been told, that, as of today, it's a closed military area. Plenty of shepherds, waving cheerfully to us as they walk alongside their animals or accompany them on a donkey. A little further up the road, soldiers, in a perfectly carved out "bowl" in the natural beauty of the countryside, are "playing at soldiers:" it's a shooting range, complete with flags and little jeeps standing about.
Another Bedouin encampment supports a roadside sign, "Supporting Vulnerable Households in the OPT," a project supported the European Union, in partnership with Oxfam. A short while later, we reach
Four soldiers stand in the middle of the checkpoint; except for a few cars, which are checked quickly in either direction, not much action until a group of women arrive in a taxi. Two soldiers move to the side of the checkpoint where we stand. "Move elsewhere," we're told by one, and we remain where we are. The sergeant commander comes over and says to his soldier that where we are standing is just fine. The three women then pass, showing their IDs to the soldier, nobody inside the checking booth today, and then one, completely covered woman is told to remove her veiling. We are shocked. We tell the soldier, "That's not ok," and realize it's useless to talk to him or his mate. Instead, we approach the sergeant commander, M., who's again in the center of the checkpoint. We complain. He tells us, "We don't do that," and we tell him we've just seen this happening with our own eyes. Meanwhile, the two soldiers now shout at us, at the sergeant commander, who now insists, "Oh, well, he had to check her." As we leave, a truck full of goats and sheep makes its way past the checkpoint, and we drive off: that's the memory we prefer to take with us.
Transgressing sheep! What will the Occupier’s brain invent next?
11:20 Tapuah Checkpoint
About ten cars waiting to cross from north to south, though the crossing is without delays.
No Palestinians. We don’t stop.
Near the Jiftlik we visit our friend G. Last Friday he phoned Daphna, excited: his father phoned to say that someone identifying himself as Danny from Shabak was in his house. G. wasn’t home at the time and was very worried. Daphna phoned Ala, the DCO officer, but the connection with G. was cut and, after an hour when it was renewed, "Danny" had already left. In our visit G. said that on last Monday four Israelis in civilian clothes came to the surroundings of his house, where his young brother was watching over the flock alone. They identified themselves as Shabak, one of them claiming to be "Danny," and demanded that he takes them to his home. Father, ill with asthma, was at home, and the Israelis began to threaten and curse him. They searched the house, turning everything upside down. From the pressure the father suffered an asthma attack and the Israelis summoned an ambulance and accompanied him to hospital in Jericho. On the way they continued to interrogate the unfortunate father. Till now, G. des not know what they wanted of him or of his family, and he is very scared. We asked him to phone us if the Shabakniks show up again. It maybe that these are settlers because Massuah is next to their encampment.
The area north of the turn to Tayasir checkpoint is fenced off with new signs declaring "Caution Mines. Entry Forbidden!"
13:20 Tayasir Checkpoint
Very thin traffic. The soldiers let people pass through fast, quietly and without harassing.
At the junction we meet a bedouin from the area, who shows us a "traffic" report with a 668 shekel fine. His two brothers got the same on 5.11.09 near Brosh Habikaa (Route 90). The charge is "herding sheep in a nature preserve, not on a marked path!!!"
In the middle of the desert there's a declared (or maybe undeclared – I didn’t check, but we’ll assume yes) area of nature preserve. It is not closed, nor fenced, does not appear as a nature reserve on the official map of Judea and Samaria – while the bedouin who have been grazing their flocks from time eternal are now required to use marked paths!!! If it werenot so sad (at this junction, the children of the three brothers always run after us begging for food – even that they don’t have), a play could be written about it.
15:00 Gochya Gate
No Palestinians waiting to pass, and the soldiers have not arrived to open the gate. A shepherd grazing his flock by the gate says that the situation is a great deal better today – the fact is that he can graze his flock here, close to the road, where t was forbidden before.
15:20 Hamra Checkpoint
Fast transit, no lines. The soldiers, contrary to previous occasions, don’t try to drive us away, though they do try to prevent photographs. They are efficient, lording it and humiliating transients. They come through the checkpoint belts in hand, looking angry, even if they did not wait for long, because the occupation is occupation, and the occupiers are 18 year old soldiers who can talk to them as though they are not human beings, and can do with and to them whatever they wish.
15:20 – a truck arriving from the direction of Nablus is sent back 100 metres and the driver is required to do the dance with raised shirt. Because we are on the other side of the checkpoint, we do not know the reason. Only after 40 minutes do the soldiers allow him to continue on his way into the valley.
15:40 – an elegant woman in Western dress arrives from the valley in an Israeli taxi. Because Israeli vehicles are forbidden to travel in the direction of Nablus, she alights with two big suitcases and tows them 100 metres to the soldiers. Her documents are examined and she continues another 100 metres, but at this hour she will have to wait at least half an hour until a Palestinian taxi will collect her.
16:00 – a water tanker harnessed to a tractor, like the ones the bedouins use to bring drinking water for themselves and the animals from distant wells, arrives from the West Bank, and is sent back – again we don’t know why. The driver waits 20 minutes a hundred metres to the West until he gives up and returns to the West Bank. Perhaps he is afraid of driving the dirt paths in the evening darkness. Whoever needs the water that he transports is going to stay thirsty.
16:45 Maale Ephraim Checkpoint
A Palestinian pickup is being held at the checkpoint. We did not manage to clarify the problem, but the driver phones someone and gives the phone to the soldier. At the end of the conversation, the soldier sends the tender back to wait, "back, don’t you understand, back!!!" Like a deficient child. The tender turns around and leaves before we can ask...
A polished, smart jeep is also refused entry to the valley. In the ten minutes we are there, two cars were sent back and one passed.
A long line, the end not visible, from the junction from north to south.
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.
Facing the University railway station, we were held up for two hours by a Shabak agent, who demanded to know where Yifat had come from and where she was going. She refused to cooperate with the intrusion into her private life. This in a public place (on the street), in the waiting area next to the parking island, while waiting for me and innocently reading a book. She gave him her ID card, but he refused to identify himself and called the police. The policemen were quite embarrassed by the event.
12:45 Maalei Ephraim – no Palestinians. One settler waiting in the checkpoint for a ride.
Many workers arriving from work on the agricultural plots of the settlements. They wait in a long line in the sun. The roofing erected, seemingly, for the comfort of the transients, is occupied by the soldiers’ water tank. At 13:30, after a phone call to the DCO, cars begin to pass without checks and the lines are much shorter. During the day (at 14:45, 17:30, 19:30) we passed Hamra checkpoint, and each time there was no line – at most two cars.
We did not get to Tayasir because of lack of time.
The gate did not open and only repeated phone calls caused the soldiers to arrive at 16:15, after people had waited an hour and a half in the sun.
On May 21 the army placed more than 60 concrete posts with signs: "Firing Zone – Entry Forbidden". The signs were placed alongside each of the communities and each encampment. Months earlier all the residents received demolition orders and "Orders to Leave A Closed Area," each in preparation for the driving out of thousands of the Valley’s residents. There is no single community over which the threat of eviction, in the form of these new notices, does not hang (I emphasize – the orders were distributed before the placing of the warnings), and in parallel we were told of a new settlement near Mesciot (we didn’t see) and other settlements were celebrating their "liberation" from the people who had lived in the area decades before the settlers even thought of settlement.
Wadi el-Milik – Ein el-Hilwe
At the junction where you turn to Tayasir from Route 578, the army on Wednesday 17.6.09 destroyed three homes and 12 sheep pens belonging to three families of 20 people with 12 children. Across the road, the army demolished the buildings of another family, but a group of activists from the area immediately built on the same spot for the man is very ill...
On 4.6.09 the homes of residents of Hadidia who were living at Ras el Ahmad (near Gochya Gate – the settlement of Roi) were destroyed, and all the residents are threatened with "transfer."
It appears that the IDF has opened a massive transfer offensive under the cover of the Firing Zone excuse.
At the Ma'aleh Efraim CP at 12:22, as always there is racial segregation. Residents who own cars with yellow licence plates are not inspected, while those whose cars have white licence places, the original residents of the region, are obliged to stop for inspection by a representative of the owners of the yellow ones. The representative forces them to get out of the vehicle, to open the trunk, and other parts of the car and to present various documents that were given them by that same foreign culture.
The Tyasir CP at 13:10, which is on almost the only road between two big regions of the occupied territories, is closed between nine at night and four thirty the next morning.
The representative asks a man of 58, "Where do you live? How old are you? Where are you coming from?" All of this in bad Arabic. The people have trouble understanding. And he asks other people - "Is this one your daughter?" People's possessions fall out of their hands because of the stress and the embarrassment. Those wearing uniforms sit in air-conditioned huts - the natives who got out of the cars at a distance from the CP are standing there waiting to be called. Sometimes there is a little boy who was taken out of the car. The drivers have to undress from far away, and to turn around in place. The soldiers push their hands into the bags of all of them -- children and women, and old people and men. A man of 70 is asked "What's your name?" And the name is written in the document that the soldier holds in his hand.
All around the CP there is a big military base, firing areas, skeletons of rotting APCs.
Gochya GateThe gate is opposite the settlement of Ro'i; it wa supposed to block the passage of people from the encampments in the area, so as to banish them quietly. We arrived at 14:22. As noted, this CP is opened only for half an hour twice a day, three times a week (because of pressure from the Red Cross). CP soldiers who are supposed to open it, usually come late. And only a blessed few who have permits of passage, sometimes wait for hours, and then give up and go away. So today there is a jeep half an hour early. Four people and among them a pair of old people are waiting on a tractor in order to go through. The soldiers have actually come for some other reason but they would have to come back soon to open the CP, so they have stayed here. They are sitting in the air-conditioned vehicle and they say to us: "Only from three o'clock. Those are the rules. There are laws in the sector and we carry them out." And when it is exactly three o'clock, their commander gets out of the jeep and waves in the direction of the tractor -- come on! We went to visit friends. When we came back, we passed near the same CP. The time was now 16:10 and we saw three tractors and people sitting in their shade. There is no army jeep. The drivers of two of the tractors say that they are on the list; they went through in the morning, and now the soldiers did not let them through. The third tractor driver says that he arrived a little before three thirty and the soldiers were not there any longer. There were many telephone calls to various representatives and at 4:50 the jeep came back, allowed one of the tractors to go through (after a long discussion) and indicated to the other two that they should not even try to approach. They drive away from there with heavy hearts. The road home has lengthened by a number of hours. Hamra CP at 17:03It takes the soldiers five minutes to inspect a car. You can see that they are not trying to do it quickly. To the people they shout instructions roughly and make other humiliating remarks. There are nine soldiers at the CP - four are doing the inspection and another five stand around us for 30 minutes. "I also want to love Arabs; I just don't know why," says one of them. Pedestrians go around the hut because in it there is a big container of water from which the soldiers take water wastefully, so many birds come to drink the water that was spilled and two (dog)cubs that the soldiers are feeding are also running around. The matter of the water: In Tyasir we saw a soldier running with a giant bag of ice to cool the voices of the soldiers. And after that we visited friends who, although they live near their own well, have to travel everyday (a very long way because all the roads are blocked) to bring water because M'korot fenced off the well. At 18:05 we stopped near a surprise CP set up by the Israeli police and the IDF, on the road near the blocked entrance to the village of Kussarin. The soldier points his rifle and looks through the eye-piece at every Palestinian car that passes and stops some of them. Despite the fact that Jewish cars go through here, the policeman only stops the Arabs and gives them tickets on all kinds of little things. He is also angry at us and although we did not do anything against the law, he also gave us a ticket.