Tayasir, Tue 13.9.11, Afternoon
Translator: Charles K.
13:40 Bezeq checkpoint.
Hamam el Maliah junction
Four empty yellow army trucks (semitrailers) block the road. Next to them, two jeeps. They apparently couldn’t decide whether to turn west or continue south toward Hamra. The line of cars behind us gets longer and the one in front decides to turn west. We followed them. At the turn north to the army camp (Tevetz camp) they stop again. The wait gave us an opportunity to notice the new lights and fences around the camp. The caravan gave up the idea of the camp and continued toward the checkpoint (maybe they’re going to evacuate it? There’s a lot of room in the vehicles in front of us…). We crawled after them. The sunlight was very harsh and bright. The long, yellow caravan in front of us clashes with the landscape, just like the checkpoint before us at which they stop. Along the way we saw soldiers trying to last through the maneuvers underway on the slope north of the road. When they reached the red sign (“Area A”), the four giant yellow semitrailers and the two jeeps accompanying them turned around on the road and drove down to the east. Where to?
14:05 Tayasir checkpoint
We remained at the checkpoint, with the soldiers, who asked us not to disturb them. They drew us an imaginary boundary. We went up. We didn’t disturb them.
The soldiers at the checkpoint have Arab daggers tied to the lower portion of their right pants-leg. The position on the road looks more colorful than ever (green inside, patrol blue and off-white outside)
Laborers going through on their way home after the work day. Some get out of the Transits and go back. The driver hands a pile of IDs to the soldier and gets them back a short time later. He gives them to their owners. Only then does the Transit/bus/minibus continue on its way. The checkpoint commander looks very serious and strict regarding his responsibilities, in the inhuman weather there. Taxis with passengers arrive from the east, trucks with hay, trucks with pipes and a minibus carrying pupils. We’re surprised that the pupils go through the revolving gate. It used to be agreed that it wasn’t necessary and the minibus got a quick check at the roadside position. Apparently the “spirit of the commander” has changed.
The girls in the striped dresses ask for food, money (the ongoing hunger and deprivation haven’t changed). A taxi crosses. Its passengers will wait to go through the revolving gate, one by one, opening their bags for the soldier to inspect. The driver tells us that crossing isn’t always quick and easy. As if to back him up, an army jeep arrived and a soldier berates the taxi driver because of where he parked (the usual place), and then roars into Area A. The taxi driver ignores the soldier’s orders…
Cars keep going through after we leave.
14:40 We left.
On the Alon Road, Route 578:
Soldiers on maneuvers. Soldiers dismantling their encampment. Vehicles to transport the soldiers enter one of the training areas.
15:00 Hamra checkpoint
People crossing east to the Jordan Valley aren’t inspected. A noncom comes over to hear what we think about the checkpoints, and what we think in general…”What do you think will happen on the 20th [the UN vote on the Palestinian state]? “They’ll slaughter us!”
He’s married, commanding soldiers busy cleaning up the lunch remnants and not really free to hear what we think.
A lieutenant also showed up, apparently the checkpoint commander. He insists we move away, to the east. We’re not in the area that’s forbidden to us, but he wants us to move anyway. He doesn’t have many reasons, and it looks as if he’s not particularly comfortable with the situation; he gives up.
Very sparse vehicle traffic. A car going east. The soldier to the commander: “Is this allowed through?”, and it crosses without delay.
15:30 What’s left of us that hasn’t melted in the sun gets into the car.
15:00 Two tanks park at the entrance to the wadi east of the turn to Hamam el Maliah.
16:00 Bezeq checkpoint
We go through.