Ma'ale Efrayim, Tayasir, Wed 27.4.11, Afternoon
Translator: Charles K.
11:55 Ma’aleh Efrayim checkpoint – not manned.
12:15 Hamra checkpoint – Deserted. Very light traffic. It’s very hot, and it’s hard for people to stand in the sun. The shed that was installed supposedly to provide shade for the Palestinians is locked by a metal gate and is used by the soldiers for storing their belongings. The Palestinians stand in the sun. But when it was installed, it was very photogenic...
The checkpoint commander tries to get rid of us, threatening to close the checkpoint. “I don’t like to see Israelis here...”
There’s a great deal of military presence throughout the Jordan Valley. An tent encampment for soldiers is being erected next to the vineyards of the settlement of Beqa’ot. They’re running around with drawn weapons; we’re driving along in the midst of the battle raging between the soldiers and nothing. Two large transport planes pass overhead, so low that we all ducked. The noise is deafening (to show them?)
Along the Alon Route (No. 548) an army bulldozer is digging a deeper ditch and a high earth barrier to prevent Palestinian residents of the Jordan Valley to reach the West Bank, where their lives are centered.
13:50 Tayasir checkpoint Crossing is quick but traffic is light. The children go through on the bus and don’t have to cross on foot. Random inspection of people coming from the Jordan Valley to the territory of the Palestinian Authority; every car going to the Jordan Valley is inspected, but there are no delays. Cars not registered to residents of the Jordan Valley, or whose owner isn’t the driver, are sent back. Not allowed to enter the Jordan Valley.
17:00 We drove to Auja, near Jericho. In the Bedouin village east of Auja JordanValleySolidarity is erected a small, one-room structure of mud and straw that will be a school for the Bedouin children. A large sign announces its name: Vittori Arrigoni, named after the peace activist murdered in Gaza. The activists – Palestinians and people from abroad covered with mud, but all of them are gleeful.
We returned via the settlements of Alon, Kochav HaShachar, etc. – a lovely route, full of hikers (Passover’s finished – don’t people have school? Jobs?). The Jordan Valley is full of billboards: “Joseph is like the Cave of the Patriarchs,” calling on the settlers to come to Joseph’s Tomb.