Hamra, Tayasir, Thu 16.7.09, Afternoon

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Keren M, Yifat D (reporting)

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."

13:40 Tayasir Checkpoint
The notebooks of two students are being checked. The soldiers shut down the checkpoint in order to get us to leave. We back away, then come back. Each time they close down again. Collective punishment. The Authority official responsible for the area of the Valley passes the checkpoint, and tells us that the army is holding many exercises in the area, disturbing the residents.

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.

15:20 – now there are 20 cars from one direction at Hamra Checkpoint.