Tayasir, Wed 26.1.11, Afternoon
Translator: Charles K.
A soldier approaches us, asks: How can he help us?
We introduce ourselves and he retreats. He doesn’t want to talk.
After about ten minutes the commander (a lieutenant) appears, also introduces himself. And also asks how he can help. He tells us they’re a combat engineering unit and they’re now manning the checkpoint.
Two people in a car going from Bardala to Tubas tell us that at this checkpoint, “there are ten bad days for every good one.” Today’s good.
A young man who’d left a bag in a car and gone through the checkpoint to wait for a ride to Bardala is called back to the head of the line so the bag’s contents can be inspected.
Some of the people going through talk with us about the situation. One says: “All governments are terrible. I work in Ramallah and cross without any problems. Tayasir is the hardest.”
Heavy traffic in both directions. Each car is carefully inspected.
14:30 Hamra checkpoint
Seven cars waiting to the east of the checkpoint when we arrive. They cross quickly without inspection. A bus that went through the checkpoint to the Jordan Valley waits with its passengers for a couple who’ve been detained. Fifty or more people are waiting on the western side. Someone says over the loudspeaker that the soldiers want to talk to the “blues” (the police?).
The bus driver tells us that the passengers are Jordanian tourists who had visited Jerusalem, Nablus and other towns. Some also met relatives. One man left his passport on the bus; another hadn’t arrive yet. He’s detained and is delaying the bus. The passengers complain to us that this is no way to welcome tourists. Come to Jordan – you’ll see how tourists should be treated. They said that they went through approximately 15 different checkpoints during their tour. They claimed it wasn’t made easy for them. Every one was inspected unnecessarily rigorously even though they had Jordanian passports.
The driver, from Jerusalem, says he picked them up in Jerusalem and then they scattered throughout the West Bank to visit relatives.
At 15:40 we ran into them again at the Bezeq checkpoint. They’re on their way to the Sheikh Hussein-Jordan river terminal to return home to Jordan.