Hamra, Ma'ale Efrayim, Tayasir, Thu 24.6.10, Afternoon
Translator: Charles K.
- Settlers cut the tires of our car.
- Reservists are stationed at the checkpoints; they behave more humanely, but the harsh occupation continues.
12:50 - Ma’aleh Efraim checkpoint
A soldier looks down from on high in the pillbox, but there are no soldiers down below, only two settlers, trying to hitch a ride (and succeeding).
13:10 Hamra checkpoint
A car detained on the western side of the checkpoint, the driver standing next to it in the sun. No lines and we continue to Tayasir.
13:25 Tayasir checkpoint
Here as well as at Hamra people ask for Edna (from Big Brother). Sparse traffic. The soldiers are reservists, relaxed, their calm compared to the screaming of the soldiers doing compulsory service is very noticeable. They speak to the point, not violently, but still the question of “where are you coming from and where are you going” takes priority here over all else, and intrudes on the privacy of those passing here.
According to the commander (a captain), the checkpoint is open 24 hours a day. Cars go through immediately, except when shifts change at 14:00, when there’s a 5-minute delay. No car has to wait. Passengers have to get out and wait to be called, “Ta’al, wahad” (Come, one), to go through, but the elderly are allowed to remain in the vehicle to cross.
14:35 We left
14:50 - 15:10 Gochya gate
The gate wasn’t open, but no Palestinians had arrived either. A family we visited told us that the gate opens only when Palestinians come (on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday) and call the Red Cross, which calls the DCO. The procedure takes a long time, and Palestinians try to avoid waiting a long time in the extreme heat, so some risk bypassing the gate and others drive to the Hamra checkpoint.
We visited some families in the area. They told us that on 21 June, soldiers came and delivered demolition orders to at least eight families regarding their encampments. After an interlude of a year, it seems that we’re in for an additional wave of demolitions and expulsions in the Jordan Valley. Some of them received demolition orders because they live in “a closed military area,” and others because they built “without a permit.” A Bedouin, one of the brave ones, who last year filed a complaint that the settlements’ security coordinator attacked him and that one of the soldiers at the Hamra checkpoint attacked his brother, told us that from the time the attackers were investigated and brought to court, they treat him and his family “appropriately” or, more accurately, ignore them and there aren’t any more confrontations. It turns out that even if the attackers aren’t convicted, and won’t really be punished for their actions, the inconvenience and the threat associated with the investigation had an effect…
17:30 Hamra checkpoint
A number of cars are waiting on each side when we arrived, but immediately go through. Most of the soldiers are reservists, except for two female and one male MP. The scanner isn’t operating and there are no dogs. The soldiers are matter-of-fact, and there are no unnecessary delays. Passengers must get out of every car about 50 meters before reaching the checkpoint and cross on foot. Cars not registered to a resident of the Jordan Valley are not permitted to go through. A car is parked on the western side; the soldiers say its driver crossed on foot when he wasn’t allowed to go through in the car. The owner of the car arrives at 18:15, and after an inspection succeeds in bringing it across. The previous driver was the owner’s brother. He had to take a taxi to the Jiftlik, 5 kilometers away, and call the registered owner. One of the permanent sights at the checkpoint is a line of Palestinians waiting on the Valley side to be called to the checkpoint. The settlers bypass the line indifferently on the left and immediately afterwards turn right, to the north. Sometimes one of the Palestinians is called to come forward before the settler has been able to make the turn, and he begins driving. According to logic and law, the person passing should wait until the Palestinian finishes moving forward in his lane, but that’s not how the lords of the land see it. Here Palestinians have no right of way. The settler simply cuts off the Palestinian, endangering him, because whatever the situation the lord always has the right of way.
While we were at the checkpoint a white vehicle belong to settlers went by. They leaned out of the window to yell curses at us: “Whores of the Arabs,” etc. We ignored them. Later, when we went back to our car, we found the front tire had been cut. Night was falling and we had to change the tire ourselves in order to return home. That’s the third time settlers cut our tires (and the second time at the same place!).
That’s how the brave lords of the land punish rebellious women whose behavior they disapprove of.