Hamra, Tayasir, Thu 11.2.10, Afternoon
Translation: Bracha B.A.
We stopped to talk with one of the residents of one of the tent camps near Tayasir who told us about the fine he received from the Israel Nature Preservation Society for grazing his herds in the area. The cows were walking on unmarked roads. The area was abandoned by a resident of the area many years ago. Since then the settlement of Rotem has been established on the land and the residents often come to bathe in the spring. The native residents are not permitted to enter. Complaints have been submitted to various MKs.
14:13 – Tayasir Checkpoint
The soldier is standing on the concrete platform in the vehicle inspection area. His hand is barely able to reach the documents that people are handing him. He inspects the trunk of the cars and asks the drivers about what they are carrying, where they are going, their origin, etc. An officer named Nadav orders the checkpoint to be closed in order that we leave. After five minutes the soldiers receive orders to open it again.
The soldiers and the Palestinians speak Hebrew with a foreign accent. The children pass through the checkpoint hesitantly with their eyes downcast.
The army has blocked one of the two roads near the settlement of Roi that leads to the land belonging to the Hadidya family. They how have to make a 20-minutes detour with their tractors. The Liaison and Coordination Administration explains that "this is so that they won't bring explosives to the checkpoint." This is nonsense. The real reason is that the settlers don't want the Palestinians driving near the settlement.
15:00 Guchia Gate
The gate is closed. A tractor with seven children and two adults is standing in front of the gate. The gate is supposed to be opened twice a day two days a week for a half hour, but sometimes the soldiers don't come at all.At 15:45 after endless phone calls soldiers arrive in a jeep. "Funny" says S., "If we are five minutes late they don't let us through the checkpoint." The soldiers always check the IDs that Israel issues against the limited list of residents that the army issues who are "permitted" to go through the gate. Today they ask for the children's birth certificates as well. The people on the tractor are surprised at this and explain and ask for permission until the soldiers finally allow the children – most of whom are about ten years old - to go through accompanied by their siblings.
They are building and expanding the checkpoint. 10 cars are waiting on all sides for the heavy equipment to go through and for the soldiers to begin to check. The entire area of the checkpoint is filled with dust from the construction work and a lot of people are walking across. The workers explain that they are renovating the checkpoint. "Otherwise people won't be able to go through – next week they will put up a fence here and a fence there."
The soldiers peek inside people's bags. A soldier makes a veiled woman remove her face covering so that he can let her through.
17:17 – Maaleh Ephraim checkpoint
There are no soldiers around or in the guard tower. A lineup of Palestinian cars formed immediately while the cars belonging to the Jews passed them by. The Palestinian cars have to stop and receive permission to pass. We walked with the first car until it passed through and when the others saw that it had gone through they passed through as well.