Ma'ale Efrayim, Tayasir, Thu 3.2.11, Afternoon
Translated by Dvora K.
11.40 Ma'aleh Ephraim
There are no soldiers. Again, a settler is standing in the concrete hut waiting for a ride.
12.40 - Hamrah
Passage is quick, there are no queues. All those going through from the west to the Jordan Valley are required to get out of the cars and to go through on foot. The men get out with their belts in their hands. The atmosphere in the CP is calm. The Palestinians say, 'Today the CP is good.' 12.20; We left.
13.40 - Tyasir CP
The CP commander tries to keep us at a distance, and he even closes the CP for a few minutes. He phones his officers and after that notifies us that we can go on standing where we are. But we must not delay the Palestinians when they leave the CP. We told him that we do not delay the Palestinians. At any rate, the CP was opened.
The passage is slow. Every car that enters or leaves the Valley is inspected thoroughly. Since not many cars are arriving, there are no long queues, but most of the time there are one or two cars waiting to go through. The passengers get out, wait for permission to approach and go through the CP on foot. Until 14.40, the time we left, the shifts did not change.
15.00 Guchiya Gate -
A tractor from the direction of the Valley and another one from the direction of the West Bank are waiting to go through. The soldiers are late in getting there and we begin a series of telephone calls. The assistant to the head of the DCO, Zaharan, does not answer, as usual. All the others promise that the soldiers are already on their way. It turns cold and the Palestinians make a fire. When it begins to rain the fire goes out and we suggest to the Palestinians that they find shelter in a car. They refuse -- they do not mind waiting, but on the tractor there is food for sheep and that is getting wet. S. tells us that on Sunday the soldiers only came to open the gate at 17.00, and then they turned him back to the West Bank and did not let him get home. He was ill and was coming back from the doctor in A'atuf. S. is a son of Hadidya and lives in the Valley where he was born. 'Why did they make you go back?' I asked. He shrugs his shoulders, 'Because I'm a son of Abu-Saker', he says and laughs.
15.45 - Tyasir CP
Just as we left the Guchiya Gate we got an urgentcall from a Palestinian, saying that for half an hour the CP has been closed and there are long queues. We drove there and while on our way we phoned the DCO officer, Billal. He said that he would take care of things,'even though I don't believe that the message is true.....'
When we arrived we found 16 cars waiting -- 10 from the east and 6 from the west. The soldiers were doing the inspection, but s-l-o-w-l-y and very very thoroughly. Every bus or minibus entering the area of the Palestinian Authority was being inspected. The passengers were made to get out in the driving rain and then were called one by one, and very very slowly, to the soldiers in order to have their documents returned; not before they were forced to take off their coats ..... and that, of course, so as not to be taking any booby traps from the settlements where they work to the streets of Tyasir where they will blow up!!! Again, Zaharan does not answer. Billal promises to take care of things, and the queues do not get any shorter. This time we stand at a distance; we did not want our presence to cause any more delays for the long queues than there had been until we came.
An officer, the CP commander ,comes up to talk to us. He explains that the battle-engineers' unit that is now manning the CP is doing very important work in the thorough inspection, and it is not 'the whore house' that the Kfir soldiers who were here before conducted. I ask him why they have to inspect those going into Area A? These are tired workers on their way home. He says: 'so that they won't kidnap Israelis', and gives us examples -- Gilad Shalit and Ron Arad of all people! He also tells us that they found two booby traps here. 'When?' I ask. 'A year ago.'
In the meantime the queue does not make any progress. The people get out in the rain in order to smoke. An open truck with ten workers coming back from work in Mehula, some of them children aged 11, are sitting wet and shivering and we cannot help them. We gave out some cookies that Michal brought, to sweeten their suffering a bit, but we did not succeed in getting the queue to move more quickly. All that time, I was trying to phone. I reached the lieutenant commander of the brigade, Shalom, who shut the telephone the minute he heard why I was calling. The people tell me that every day things go this way at this time of day. The commander also says,'What do you want? This is rush hour! ' Sixteen cars are such pressure that people are forced to be stuck in the rain for more than an hour? In a period of calm such as we are experiencing now?
17.00 -- We left and the queue was as long as it was when we arrived.
17.30 Hamrah CP-- 2 cars from the east and one from the west.
18.00 - Ma'aleh Ephraim-- The CP is manned for those coming from the West Bank. In one of the concrete huts, a settler stands waiting for a ride.