Hamra, Ma'ale Efrayim, Tayasir, Za'tara (Tapuah), Sun 8.11.09, Afternoon
Transgressing sheep! What will the Occupier’s brain invent next?
11:20 Tapuah Checkpoint
About ten cars waiting to cross from north to south, though the crossing is without delays.
No Palestinians. We don’t stop.
Near the Jiftlik we visit our friend G. Last Friday he phoned Daphna, excited: his father phoned to say that someone identifying himself as Danny from Shabak was in his house. G. wasn’t home at the time and was very worried. Daphna phoned Ala, the DCO officer, but the connection with G. was cut and, after an hour when it was renewed, "Danny" had already left. In our visit G. said that on last Monday four Israelis in civilian clothes came to the surroundings of his house, where his young brother was watching over the flock alone. They identified themselves as Shabak, one of them claiming to be "Danny," and demanded that he takes them to his home. Father, ill with asthma, was at home, and the Israelis began to threaten and curse him. They searched the house, turning everything upside down. From the pressure the father suffered an asthma attack and the Israelis summoned an ambulance and accompanied him to hospital in Jericho. On the way they continued to interrogate the unfortunate father. Till now, G. des not know what they wanted of him or of his family, and he is very scared. We asked him to phone us if the Shabakniks show up again. It maybe that these are settlers because Massuah is next to their encampment.
The area north of the turn to Tayasir checkpoint is fenced off with new signs declaring "Caution Mines. Entry Forbidden!"
13:20 Tayasir Checkpoint
Very thin traffic. The soldiers let people pass through fast, quietly and without harassing.
At the junction we meet a bedouin from the area, who shows us a "traffic" report with a 668 shekel fine. His two brothers got the same on 5.11.09 near Brosh Habikaa (Route 90). The charge is "herding sheep in a nature preserve, not on a marked path!!!"
In the middle of the desert there's a declared (or maybe undeclared – I didn’t check, but we’ll assume yes) area of nature preserve. It is not closed, nor fenced, does not appear as a nature reserve on the official map of Judea and Samaria – while the bedouin who have been grazing their flocks from time eternal are now required to use marked paths!!! If it werenot so sad (at this junction, the children of the three brothers always run after us begging for food – even that they don’t have), a play could be written about it.
15:00 Gochya Gate
No Palestinians waiting to pass, and the soldiers have not arrived to open the gate. A shepherd grazing his flock by the gate says that the situation is a great deal better today – the fact is that he can graze his flock here, close to the road, where t was forbidden before.
15:20 Hamra Checkpoint
Fast transit, no lines. The soldiers, contrary to previous occasions, don’t try to drive us away, though they do try to prevent photographs. They are efficient, lording it and humiliating transients. They come through the checkpoint belts in hand, looking angry, even if they did not wait for long, because the occupation is occupation, and the occupiers are 18 year old soldiers who can talk to them as though they are not human beings, and can do with and to them whatever they wish.
15:20 – a truck arriving from the direction of Nablus is sent back 100 metres and the driver is required to do the dance with raised shirt. Because we are on the other side of the checkpoint, we do not know the reason. Only after 40 minutes do the soldiers allow him to continue on his way into the valley.
15:40 – an elegant woman in Western dress arrives from the valley in an Israeli taxi. Because Israeli vehicles are forbidden to travel in the direction of Nablus, she alights with two big suitcases and tows them 100 metres to the soldiers. Her documents are examined and she continues another 100 metres, but at this hour she will have to wait at least half an hour until a Palestinian taxi will collect her.
16:00 – a water tanker harnessed to a tractor, like the ones the bedouins use to bring drinking water for themselves and the animals from distant wells, arrives from the West Bank, and is sent back – again we don’t know why. The driver waits 20 minutes a hundred metres to the West until he gives up and returns to the West Bank. Perhaps he is afraid of driving the dirt paths in the evening darkness. Whoever needs the water that he transports is going to stay thirsty.
16:45 Maale Ephraim Checkpoint
A Palestinian pickup is being held at the checkpoint. We did not manage to clarify the problem, but the driver phones someone and gives the phone to the soldier. At the end of the conversation, the soldier sends the tender back to wait, "back, don’t you understand, back!!!" Like a deficient child. The tender turns around and leaves before we can ask...
A polished, smart jeep is also refused entry to the valley. In the ten minutes we are there, two cars were sent back and one passed.
A long line, the end not visible, from the junction from north to south.