Tayasir, Tue 18.10.11, Morning

Ravital Sela, Rachel Hayut (reporting)


Translator:  Charles K.

04:35  Bezeq checkpoint – A military jeep stationed west of the road.  We crossed.

Morning, still dark, chilly

05:00  Hamra checkpoint
We seem to have arrived at the tail end of the rush hour here.  A covered truck, loaded with laborers – youths.  The last one climbs up, invites us to join them…we asked them where they’re going, but didn’t understand their reply.  Private cars and vans, most of them waiting for the agricultural laborers to complete the bureaucratic procedures at the checkpoint, put their belts back on and return to the vehicles.

People crossing say good morning to us, young men asking who and what we are.

A large group of soldiers bunched around a white car at the position on the road; we don’t know why.

A large military vehicle stands on the road next to the shed.  Later, the occupants, armed helmeted soldiers seated in the open truck bed on what appear to be revolving chairs, wave to us.

We don’t see the bulldozer today.  Perhaps it’s doing its holy work during hol ha’moed (blocking dirt roads throughout the Jordan Valley).  A., from the town of Tamun, complains that his permit has expired.  Now, during the Jewish holidays, there’s no one to renew the Palestinians’ entry permits to the Jordan Valley.  The permits are issued at the Masu’a settlement.  The owner obtained temporary permission to cross to the eastern side of the checkpoint, but only on foot.  He has to leave his car (the one around which soldiers gathered earlier) on the western side.  “Now the poor owner has to come from Hemdat to get it.  And there’s lots of work now with the spices.”

They work 10-12 hours a day, depending on what’s needed and on the season – planting, harvesting and packing.  The pay: 10-12 shekels/hour.  The group of 6-7 men waited more than 15 minutes at the junction for a large pickup truck that collected them  (Social justice: we wonder from what time the boss starts counting the hours he’s paying for).

The checkpoint area remains empty.

05:30  We left

05:55  Tayasir checkpoint
The sun, which has already risen, reddens the eastern hills.
The checkpoint area is deserted.  It’s cold.  The soldiers wave us through.  Instead, we park. 

An officer and soldier at the position on the road, their backs to us.  We went up to the pedestrian crossing without anyone reprimanding us or threatening to close the checkpoint.

The metal door of the upper position is closed.  We said good morning, and got a response (Who knows?  Maybe there will be peace someday?)  A Transit arriving from the west is immediately signaled to advance, inspected and crosses quickly.  Two soldiers come out of the closed position, preparing to stand outside.

06:05  A soldier asks, isn’t it too early?  We’re not sure whether he was referring to us.

No traffic on the road!

We left.

06:15  Along the road down to the Alon highway – girls in school uniforms (the striped dresses), boys and a few adults walking toward the road, or waiting by the roadside for transportation to school.

06:25  Bezeq checkpoint – we crossed.