Hamra, Tayasir, Za'tara (Tapuah), Thu 11.3.10, Afternoon

Daphna B, Yifat D (reporting and photographing)
Seriously? Does this make us safer?

Guest: Ruthi R

Dusty, hot, hamsin day. Long lines at Hamra and Tayasir checkpoints. Soldiers’ terrorising of bedouin at Hamam el-Maliah.

11:25 Zaatra Checkpoint
A soldier stands in the centre of the square, on a concrete block 1.5 metres high. Rifle pointing, he orders a Palestinian crossing the square to show the content of his bag.

11:58 Hamra Checkpoint
Long lines of cars, 14 from the west to the valley, 18 from the east to the West Bank. The first in line have been waiting 40 minutes.

Works at the checkpoint – trucks and labourers: the checkpoint is encircled by a fence on both sides, and has gained in area. The detaineesinfo-icon hut is separated behind plastic sheeting. The examination hut is now isolated. A trench has been dug to the right of the checkpoint. Five soldiers standing idly by. Two soldiers checking the cars very slowly, passing a car through once every five minutes. With screeching tires a vehicle with soldiers pulls away, raising a cloud of dust over the waiting people in the desert heat, among them a mother with a newborn babyinfo-icon. It is 25 minutes that they have waited for their car to pass the check. Among them, one tells us that he grew eggplants and tomatoes at Jiftlik, but stopped some time ago because there is no water, and everyone is marketing solely to Nablus and there really is no one to sell to.

A Palestinian cleaner of the checkpoint is eating food that the soldiers gave him. He asks, delicately, whether he can take the remaining bread home, and then later he asks the soldiers why they are passing the transients through so slowly in this heat.

Photo captions
: 1. Food strewn in H.’s tent.
2. H.’s tent ripped by officer Yosef.
האוכל השפוך צילום יפעת דורון

We pass acquaintances from Hamam el Maliah on the road to Tayasir Checkpoint, and go to H., who lives in a small tent. On Saturday an army jeep passed by. An officer, Yosef, came and demanded a plant that H. did not have – he only grows peas. The plant that Yosef wanted is protected and the Palestinians cannot harvest it, even though traditionally it was part of their available food. Two days later, Yosef returned with another soldier. H. was not home. His sister watched from a neighbouring home while the two ripped the tent and entered to overturn it.

האוהל הקרוע צילום יפעת דורון

14:18 Tayasir Checkpoint
On an ordinary day a car comes every 15 minutes. Therefore it was surprising to find eight cars waiting at this hour. After we arrived the soldiers worked fast and the line soon disappeared. The pedestrian hut (passengers forced to cross the checkpoint on foot) was full when we arrived, but emptied quickly after our arrival. On the soldiers’ hut a poster informs about this week’s Bible portion...