Ma'ale Efrayim, Tayasir, Za'tara (Tapuah), Sun 25.9.11, Afternoon
- A young father of seven was killed in Qusra village, of soldiers’ fire.
- -according to the DCO, several soldiers involved in harassing shepherds of the Salamin family have been tried.
- Apparently the army in the Palestinian Jordan Valley is at the service of the settlements’ ‘security’ officials.
- At Tyassir Checkpoint soldiers continue to act as traffic police.
- Gochia ‘Gate’ not opened again
- Two days after the Netanyahu and Abu Mazen speeches at the UN, no special buzz noted on the ground.
13:00 – next to the Palestinian grocery at Ariel junction, a Palestinian from Hares village complains he is not allowed to cross over and till his lands across the fence.
13:15 Tapuach Junction – no soldiers, no checks, only a soldier manning the watchtower.
13:30 Qusra village – On Friday a resident of the village, father of seven children, was killed by soldiers’ gunfire (publicized by Harretz newspaper on the Rosh Hashana Eve issue). The incident began with settlers from Shilo assaulting the village. This is repeated in Qusra about once a week. In the past, trees have been uprooted and villagers wounded.
At the exit from the village we saw Palestinians working in a fruit grove and an army jeep parked nearby. Are the soldiers securing them against settler assaults?
14:00 Ma’ale Efrayim Checkpoint – no soldiers in sight.
On our way we notice the expanded tended fields of Gitit, Mekhora and Hamra settlements. We in the press read not long ago that a decision in this vein was taken by the political echelons. And it is indeed materialized on the ground.
14:20 – Hamra Checkpoint – hardly any traffic.
According to Zaharan, DCO officer, several soldiers involved in harassing shepherds of the Salaman family (also reported by Haaretz) have been tried and sentenced to a prison term, but this does not deter further incidents. Near Beqaot settlement we met a young shepherd of the Hadidiya clan. He told us that just this morning he was detained by soldiers who shackled and blindfolded him and took him to the checkpoint where he was held for three hours. As he was alone, his herd was abandoned. Who will pay him damages if such are incurred? This question in itself is not valid in a wild reality where might makes right. If there were any real grounds for such detention, police would be summoned. The fact that he was released just as arbitrarily as he was detained proves that this is harassment, pure and simple. They told him he was not allowed to graze his flock within 1000 meters of any settlement (the grazing site was between Beqaot and Roi), nor within 700 meters of the road. In fact, he is supposed to hover in the air as there is no ground which would meet such stipulations. When I spoke with Zaharan about this later he said these claims were groundless and that in fact the decision was to forbid Palestinians to get within 200 meters of a settlement or an army base, and that’s all.
As we spoke, the red jeep belonging to Ranikn, the Beqaot security official, passed us by twice. The shepherd told us that he was detained and beaten by the same man about a month ago.
In view of the recent incidents afflicting the Salamins, in addition to the tent demolitions of the Abu Saker family and the arrest of the shepherd today, apparently some commander of the army unit presently active in the area is serving the Beqaot security official in particular, who openly wishes to oust the Hadidiya shepherds from the region.
The Gochia ‘gate’ was not opened today. According to DCO’s Zaharan, the reason was flooding of the Jiftlik roads, forcing all the army vehicles to that area.
16:00 Tyassir Checkpoint – we arrived at the changing of the shifts. 10 minutes later checking was resumed. The drivers were nonplussed. They are used to waiting. Sometimes they wait for a whole hour. The checkpoint commander approached us to warn against approaching the checkpoint itself.
10 cars arrive with passengers from Bardalah (Eastern part of the Jordan Valley) on their way to a wedding at Tubas. Vehicles entering the Area A parts of the West Bank are carefully checked. Passengers of a van disembark and are checked one by one. This takes time and the waiting line grows longer. At Hamra Checkpoint, also a passage point from the Jordan Valley to the rest of the West Bank, usually cars traveling westbound are not checked. When we appealed to the commander to show consideration of the wedding guests, he wouldn’t listen. The checks proceeded by the book. When we took off, at 16:40, there were still 10 cars waiting in line.
17:35 Maale Efrayim Checkpoint – we see a single soldier, it is unclear whether he is checking cars or waiting for a ride. We did not stop to find out.