Hamra, Tayasir, Wed 10.2.10, Afternoon

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Revital S., Rachel H., (Reporting)

Translation: Bracha B.A.

The valley is still green. The wild flowers are colorful, the sheep are enjoying the grass, the Bedouin are gathering plants, and of course, the army camps and fences are still the same.  Before we went to Tayasir Checkpoint we stopped to unload winter clothes on the side of the road leading to one of the encampments. Children came to take the clothes and a woman came and invited us to drink.  She asked about Dafna and said that Dafna always comes to drink with her and we promised to come again the next time.

14:20 – Tayasir Checkpoint
We stood opposite the entrance to the base.  A soldier was walking along the fence talking on his mobile phone and announced that a blue Volkswagen was parked next to the fence.  We didn't see any schoolchildren because they had returned earlier.
We encountered taxis that had come from the West bank and were waiting for passengers who had gotten out to be checked in the inspection booth. Vans and small trucks were traveling towards the West Bank with workers or cargo. We did not see the unpleasant sight of people lining up to have their IDs checked. 
An elderly man who lives in Tayasir in the West Bank has a house and children but he himself lives in Badla in the Jordan valley and is a beekeeper. A worker from the Palestinian Authority tells us in English about his work and about projects for promoting social and agricultural initiatives for residents of the Jordan valley. Today he went with another activist from somewhere else to bring equipment for a kindergarten in Ein El Bida opposite the settlement of Mechola.  There are about 2000 residents there. We added a large bag of dolls and asked them if they were aware of the military activity in the area west of the checkpoint.  He said that the army was particularly evident during the night, but that they no longer enter people's houses.  His son was arrested and in prison in Israel but was freed with the help of good attorneys.

We left at 15:20.  On the Alon road we can see the dirt embankments running along the side of the road. The Guchia gate opposite the settlement of Roi is closed.

Hamra Checkpoint 15:40
A woman, waiting on the side of the road, is worried about her husband who is still inside the checkpoint.  A dog held by a woman soldier is checking his car.  The man arrived angry and agitated about all the items in the car that the dog had sniffed, and now he had to throw them all away. "For us a dog is profane," he explains.  “Do they think I have weapons?  Is this the easing up of procedures at checkpoints?  Anyone who has a weapon wouldn't cross at a checkpoint."

After that we saw another search of a Fiat Uno. Between searches the dog handler has her dog perform jumping tricks.  People arrive after being checked with their belts in their hands.  "Look what a mess they make here for us."

A grader is working on the concrete area that we saw here two weeks ago, and was later joined by a bulldozer from the army.  The soldier operating the grader tells Edna that he knows that we don’t spit on soldiers because he sees us at checkpoints, and wonders how we offer to do our work without pay or without compensation for our expenditures.  He asks where our reports go and who reads them.  His contractor (from Jerusalem) won the bid for construction in the West bank and he is now hired to pave the area next to the inspection booth.  He is waiting for asphalt to arrive and therefore has time to ask questions.  Other soldiers join him: one introduced himself as a representative from the Liaison and Coordination Administration and asked about Dafna, and the other was the same rank, and the third has a cap on with an insignia from "Carob", a military unit.
We asked about the dog.  The representative from the Liaison and Coordination Administration explained that there was a serious warning issued and that "Here at the checkpoint we don't harass people.  We bring them water and they bring us explosives."  Only last week we discovered seven grenades."  During the usual dialogue about "We have a right to this country and they don't want to make peace" they received an announcement about the killing of a soldier at the Tapuach Junction.

The grader and bulldozer began to move.  The grader worked at the crossing next to the signs pointing to Jerusalem and Tuba, and ran into the poles holding the signs as well as the concrete block holding the light pole.  The place became dangerous for pedestrians – particularly women and children who were coming out of the inspection booth.  The bulldozer repaired the concrete block and returned it to its place and the grader continued with its work as if he were building a new road southward, perhaps paving a platform, perhaps for rest rooms, as the person from the Liaison and Coordination Administration had explained.   The bulldozer uprooted weeds and cleared away two trees next to the large garbage bins.  It was all right to clear away the litter, but we asked why they were uprooting the trees.  We were told that the trees were blocking the view.  Throughout the time we were there cars passed through the checkpoint, many of them were new and impressive.

We left at 16:15.