Hamra, Ma'ale Efrayim, Tayasir, Za'tara (Tapuah), Thu 25.3.10, Afternoon
Translation: Bracha B.A.
Zatra junction (Tapuach Junction)
11:15 – An enclosure has been built for the soldier sitting in the lookout position facing south. The soldier cannot be seen and is presumably well-protected. Recently there have been no soldiers at the Akraba Junction opposite the settlement of Migdalim.
Maaleh Efraim Checkpoint
11:25 – A Toyota police car is standing next to the position. Soldiers from the Haruv brigade ask us to park further away, and at that moment the police left. It appears that there are no detainees.
17:25 – There are no soldiers at the checkpoint. Palestinians who approach verify that there are no soldiers and then drive through. The checkpoint is empty.
Hamra Checkpoint -12:00
We are greeted by the new platform. The area is clean. The person cleaning it is a Palestinian, with a yellow vest and hat from the military unit. He finished his work and left eastward.
Traffic is light. It is obvious that the soldiers are displeased with our presence, but they don't try to prevent us from taking pictures or approaching the inspection position. Today there is no dog, but there is a car with equipment for checking bags that has just transferred a large suitcase. A young well-dressed boy (about third grade) with a school bag on his back, went through the checkpoint by himself. The soldier sends him back to put his school pack through the machine to be checked. The boy goes and sits on the concrete block at the edge of the checkpoint. He tells us that he lives in Jiftlik but goes to school in Nassariyya where there is a better school. He comes to the checkpoint by himself. We saw him signal for a taxi and leave.
Three soldiers who have nothing to do are standing in the position by the road. There is very little traffic. One of the soldiers explains to his friends that we are the type of women who are degenerate, hate the country and the soldiers. "Imagine…if your mother came here to keep an eye on us…" Two women arrive at the checkpoint. The loudspeaker sounds, "Daniel, you have a check." The women wait. After five minutes the machine blinks its red light – apparently a sign that it has completed its task. "Tell her to get rid of her bag so that I can begin listing." The women move on to have their IDs checked. Each is carrying a small woman's handbag. For that they needed to operate the machine??
We go to visit Z. From his house we can see the checkpoint. There is very little traffic and no line. During our conversation Z asks us to come to observe the checkpoint early in the morning at 04:30 when it opens. At 13:45 we can see what goes on without the influence of our presence: there is a line and workers wait in line who have gotten out of their employers' cars. After more than ten minutes of being ignored by the soldiers they go through without being checked.
16:45 – 18 cars are waiting in line: 18 from the east, 12 from the west and 3 that have arrived from the north. There are also 20-30 pedestrians waiting in line on the road. The soldiers didn't appear to be the least bit perturbed. Within 15 minutes all the pedestrians and cars has gone through quickly as well as the cars and none were checked. One of the drivers who had arrived first said he had waited there for more than an hour.
Guchia Checkpoint (A steel Arm) 14:50
An army jeep arrives ten minutes early. We didn't wait for it to leave. We picked up a man and boy from the Hadidya family and drove them as close as we could to their camp. (since the direct access road has been blocked). The gate that leads to the road that circumvents the settlement of Roi was open.
15:30 – Tayasir Checkpoint
The spikes in the road have still not been repaired and traffic is being let through in one lane only. There is not a lot of traffic but nevertheless there was nearly an accident. A station wagon with two air conditioning repairmen is standing next to the traffic island. They are held up because they have a gas balloon, a toolbox with metal pipes, and perhaps a welding balloon and they are on their way to Bardala. Their keys and ID cards have been confiscated. When we arrived they had already been there for 10 minutes. They were released at 16:10 after about 50 minutes. When they left the driver sounded like he was very angry at the soldier at the checkpoint. After he was released we called the Liaison and Coordination Administration and were told that private air conditioner repairmen who are not registered with a company have to be checked: perhaps they are not repairmen at all. In the end he was not allowed to drive home.
After 45 minutes we saw the same repairman who was not allowed to go through Tayasir being let through Hamra checkpoint without being checked. The soldiers there were also from the Haruv Brigade and also know how to let people wait for 10 minutes while they munch cookies.
We left at 16:20.