Hamra (Beqaot), Tayasir, Tue 3.1.12, Afternoon
Translator: Charles K.
11:30 We went through the Bezeq checkpoint
The rains have rinsed off the Jordan Valley; a few puddles along the roadside, water in the wadi east of the Tevetz junction.
Alon road – an army jeep parked by the roadside near the Gochia gate. A soldier sits on its hood. A new earthen berm has risen parallel to the Alon road. It begins 3 kilometers north of the Hamra junction and is 1.5 kilometers long. The barriers west of the road have also been made higher for two kilometers before reaching the checkpoint.
12:55 Hamra checkpoint
Minibuses and vans transporting laborers. No delays crossing westward. Almost no cars or people going east. Signs of the rains that fell are visible around the checkpoint, as are the efforts to clean and rake the area (by a tractor). Four concrete blocks have been placed next to the (stinking!!!) garbage containers. A pile of junk and garbage next to them (fence parts, plastic barriers, etc.). An army backhoe parked at the checkpoint goes to work. A Central Command engineering officer guides the backhoe operator. We saw two new water lines that had been laid across a route parallel to the road. We don’t yet know the significance of the work being done here. The Central Command engineering officer didn’t answer our question.
13:55 We left.
Soldiers on maneuvers are scattered alongside the road up to Tayasir. And also – an almond tree with splendid white blossoms.
14:30 Tayasir checkpoint
Very light traffic.
The sign at the entrance to the base announces the presence of Battalion 97's "Mahatz [The ”Smiters”] Company" (from the March, 2011, wave of draftees), and cites the text on which the unit's name is based: "I have smitten them through, so that they are not able to rise."
A smiling captain comes over to ask what we’re doing in the area under his command. He proudly told us that he was the one who named his company “Mahatz.” We didn’t ask what the sign meant. [The text is from Psalms 18:39; the previous verse provides the full context: "I have pursued mine enemies, and overtaken them; neither did I turn back till they were consumed."] Unlike his predecessor, he confirmed what everyone knows, that it’s not a military area and that we’re permitted to be here. Just not interfere..
A., a taxi driver, says that the soldiers delay traffic in the morning. As a result, people are late, especially the teachers. One of the people crossing mentioned insulting inspections of women. He asks whether we can do anything about them.
14:50 We left
15:15 We crossed through the Bezeq checkpoint.