Ma'ale Efrayim, Tayasir, Sun 17.10.10, Afternoon
The Allegory of the Well" in Frush Taamun. But before that, on our way to the Valley:
11:25 - 'Samaria Pass' in the eastern direction, is manned by border patrol policemen.
11:27 - In the area of the 'Gates of Hope' we saw some facilities for games and also a red roof. It is possible that this is 'old news', but to us, who haven't driven on Road 5 for several months, and haven't seen them before, they look new.
11:40 - On the fence that separates Marda from Road 5, there are some posters denouncing the 'freeze'. In a house in Marda, near the road, it looks as if some people have come back and there are signs inviting people to a restaurant and also to a car repair shop. Normalization? Marda is open and so is Zeita. On the sides of the road we see olive-picking activity.
11:49 - Zaatara - there are no cars coming from the north (for those coming from the west, the posts are not manned at all). On the concrete huts near the partking lot there are posters saying 'Cahana is right', etc.
12:07 - 'Ephraim Pass' - unmanned in both directions.
12:10 - in the valley, the building freeze looks like a trick. In Gitit, there are four big new chicken houses and it seems that there are some new nurseries.
12:16 - A packing plant belonging to a resident of Naama, that we saw for the first time a few months ago,is now surrounded by new nurseries and fields are spreading out in every direction. It is apparent that the agricultural crops in valley, belonging to the Jews of course, have a lot of water and the yellow and brown area is dotted with more and more green spots. The workers, who are working in the heat (in the valley it is still very hot) and for a pittance, are of course, Palestinians.
12:50 - Frush Taamun. This is where five big families numbering about a hundred people live, and it is a branch of the village of Taamun. That is to say, they are not Bedouin and they have documents to show that this area belongs to them; moreover the houses were built here before the 1967 war. In the compound there is a dry well. (Beneath the settlement there is abundant water, according to the people we talked to.) The residents are forced to buy water that they bring from the Shibli spring. A container of ten cubic liters costs NIS150. In order to supply their needs, including water for the sheep, they buy ten cubic liters once every three or four days. In a month they consume 150 cubic liters. You can figure out the costs for yourselves. Until ten or fifteen years ago, they had orchards with lemons, grapefruit and oranges here. There is no sign of them now. There were attempts to fix the well, but they only caused damage. The main problem as we understood it is that because the area belongs to the residents and also to their family in Taamun, all those who have rights to the land have to agree in order to carry out any refurbishing work. But the family members who do not live in 'Frush' do not want to contribute money to cover the cost of fixing the well, among other things, costs to be paid to the Israeli authorities. And it's not as if our hosts think that if the family were united, they would get a permit from the Israeli government.
13:23 - We left.
13:25 - Hamra -- There are very few people going through the CP at this time of day, nor are there many cars. On the side of the east, they are not doing any inspection, but the conditions of the occupation are still preserved. Cars that arrive are halted and their drivers wait for the tiny signal of the man or woman soldier's hand that will liberate them. The trouble is that the driver who is waiting does not see the signal because the soldiers crowd together under the shed that is now repaired, and shields them from the heat and the sun, rather than staying in the inspection post on one side of the road. The men who arrive from the west hold their belts in hand; they are happy to see us and tell us to come all the time, because when we are there the soldiers do not cause problems. They tell us that sometimes they are detained at the CP for three hours. We left after a quarter of an hour.
14:00 - Today they are also transporting water to the encampment near Maskiyot, the road to which is also 'decorated' with a sign saying 'shooting area'. In the encampment the women tell us that on last Wednesday (13/10/10) settlers from Maskiyot came to the encampment, opened the tap on the water container and emptied it. The people could identify the guilty ones, but they did not go to the DCO to complain because when they went to complain about the theft of sheep, the complaint was noted, but nothing was done about it. They did not ask us for help.
14:30 - Tyasir. Here too only a few people are going through. They have arranged a parking bay for cars that arrive at the CP from the west. A car arrives at the CP; people get out, for example a mother and four little children -- one seven months old, that she has in her arms. They have to go through the inspection post on foot, through the turnstiles, and then join the father who had to go the same distance, but in the car. Here, too, they tell us that when we are here, there are no problems.
We leave after a short time in order to get to the 'Guchyia Gate'. On the way we can see that there is active digging with heavy equipment on the hill where Maskiyot is. Five houses are already standing strong, and very soon, apparently, they will be inhabited.
15:00 - Guchiya Gate. There is absolutely nobody here. The arm is locked with a chain even though it is supposed to be open at this time. At 15;15, Rina calls the Jericho DCO. G' (a woman) tells her that she will find out. At 15:25, we call again. G. says that if they will not come to open the CP today, they will be treated with great severity. Afterwards, S. (a man) answers the phone and says that he does not have the authority to talk to us.
15:48 - We left and the gate was still locked.
16:20 - S. called and said that now the gate is open (the gate that should have been open until 15:30) and if this kind of thing will happen again, he will take care of things!
16:23 - Maaleh Ephraim - The posts are not manned. As to the pillbox, we are not sure.
16:36 - Zaatara - four cars from the north are going through.