Ma'ale Efrayim, Tayasir, Sun 31.10.10, Afternoon
Translator: Charles K.
12:35 Ma’aleh Efraim checkpoint – appears deserted, no soldiers at the checkpoint, nor do we see anyone looking out up in the pillbox.
12:55 Hamra checkpoint – Unlike the last few times, the soldiers are friendly to us, don’t try to move us back. The female MP tries to incite them against us, but they refuse to cooperate with her. Seven cars were waiting from the west when we arrived; apparently they’d waited a long time because the drivers had gotten out of the cars. The soldiers let them all cross without inspection before we had a chance to ask them anything.
13:15-13:25 - The crossing shuts down. Shift change. 12 cars wait east of the checkpoint, 5 to the west.
13:40 – A bus arrives carrying laborers returning from working in the settlements. The soldiers make them all get off, even though they’re going into the West Bank and it’s not the soldiers’ job to inspect them. Meanwhile, traffic at the checkpoint stops.
A group of children in school uniforms arrives on foot from the east. They have to wait on the road until the inspection of the bus is completed (about 5 minutes), in the middle of the checkpoint, which is dangerous, and then to cross on the road, since the eastern lane, including the shade canopy for Palestinians, is blocked by water tanks. When they come to close to the soldiers without permission, they’re shouted at: “Irja la’aura” – move back.
13:55 – Tayasir checkpoint. Very light traffic. Four of the five soldiers at the checkpoint are religious. All the vehicles have documents inspected, and people entering the Jordan Valley also have their vehicles inspected. Passengers in cars entering the Jordan Valley get out about 30 meters before the checkpoint and walk through. One soldiers shouts at them hysterically, “Waqaf, waqaf!! Wahad wahad!.” At the children as well. Three Bedouin children wait a long time for their ride, meanwhile rummaging through the soldiers’ trash bins.
One soldier says to the others: “Have you heard about the female terrorist who’s supposed to be coming? She’s already crossed the Allenby Bridge. They even know her name – I’m not checking her – First I’ll fill her with 700 bullets, then check.”!!
13:25 – Shift change but, miraculously, without closing the checkpoint. Turns out it’s possible, and even pretty simple!
15:00 exactly – Gochia checkpoint (did Chana’s complaint have an effect?). Two soldiers get out of a Hummer and open the gate. The Hummer drives on. There are no Palestinians, and we remain only until 15:10
About 150 meters away an army jeep has been parked since 14:45, when we arrived (and perhaps even earlier) next to the ditch that cuts the Jordan Valley off from the center of its existence – the West Bank – lying in wait for Palestinians trying to bypass the checkpoint.