Jordan Valley, Ma'ale Efrayim, Tayasir, Sun 3.4.11, Afternoon
Maale Ephraim-11.15 and on our way back at 1800
Three soldiers man the checkpoint, checking cars travelling from the West Bank to the Jordan Valley, and denying passage to anyone whose car is not registered to an inhabitant of the Valley.
11.40 – Hamra checkpoint
No waiting cars seen, so we did not stop this time.
12.50 – Tayasir checkpoint
Five cars from the Valley are waiting to pass to the West Bank. From a distance we could see that no car is being checked. Approaching the area, we waited for 10 minutes, and no soldiers appeared. The Palestinians said this happens all the time – they are kept waiting and nobody cares. When the soldiers saw us they started checking the cars.
Cars going in both directions are examined thoroughly. In those en route to the Valley the luggage boot is opened too. The passengers going from the West Bank to the Valley have to pass the checkpoint on foot. A soldier shouts at one of them, "remove everything – wallet, watch, belt," and when the person doesn't immediately return his papers to his wallet the soldier shouts "go, go," A car is not allowed to pass because it isn't registered in the name of the driver.
During our stay at the checkpoint there was a long line of cars coming from the east, caused by the strict examinations, including cars entering the area under the control of the Palestinian authority.
Visit Nabil – last week his tent, located near Alon road, was torn down, after settlers set up a tent right next to his and fenced his tent in. The army accepted the settlers' claims, destroyed Nabil's tent and dragged him away. A few activists, including Israelis, were detained and later released. Nabil then put up his tent near the road to Tayasir. Immediately three more families appeared and now there are three tents. The army informed them they are coming to tear down the tents, despite the absence of a court order to do so.
A number of Jordan Valley Solidarity activists decided to set up a small school for the tent dwellers' children, who presently receive no schooling, but the foundations must be built by the Beduins themselves; only then will the activists build the school, together with the inhabitants. This course of action has been chosen so that the school will be first and foremost a local initiative of the inhabitants, and not a project dictated from above.
We also visited Saleh Bisharat who was arrested with his family in January.
U5.00 Gochia checkpoint was not opened and no palestinians arrived.
We visited the El Hadediya compound after one of Abu Saker's sons reported that his brother Rasi was detained, the second time this week.
It turns out that this is the 4th time in recent weeks and the impression is that the army, at the settlers’directions, is trying to force Abu Saker to leave the place, or at least settle further away from the settlement. The site occupied by Abu Saker has been leased to him by an inhabitant of Tamun and he has been living there for years. On Friday Rasi was taken to an army base, shackled, and was beaten. He was released after 5 hours. Rasi, usually a cheerful man, appeared broken by these violent arrests. The army forbids his grazing the herds in a field belonging to the family, in which they sowed wheat, or to use the water beyond the settlement. Both sites are not close to the settlement and do not constitude any threat.
Abu Saker told us that on the site of the settlement Roi (1976) there had been a village called Hadidiya with 30 houses, and on the site where Bekaot settlement was built in 1972 there had been a larger Palestinian village – some 90 houses - "L'makasame". Both villages were destroyed by the army in 1967. When settlements were built on those sites, the settlers found valuables hidden underground, buried by Palestinians before they left, hoping to retriev it when the fighting ended.