Hamra (Beqaot), Tayasir, Wed 22.2.12, Morning

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Lena R., Dafna B. (reporting)

Translator:  Charles K.

10:45  Tapuach checkpoint

Deserted.  No soldiers, in any of the posts.  A military jeep is parked in the parking lot.

11:15  Ma’aleh Efrayim

Not manned.

11:50  Hamra

Very sparse traffic at this hour.  Four cars crossed during the half hour we were here.  Each one of them waits by itself at the checkpoint for five minutes until the soldier deigns to make the familiar motion with his hand permitting it to advance.  An intentional delay or just indifference?

A container has been placed at the site where passengers who’ve already been inspected and gone through on foot wait for their cars; one of its walls has been removed.  It’s remarkably ugly.  We assume that this structure, made completely of metal, will be like an oven when the hot summer arrives.  The place is filthy and disgusting; the Palestinians aren’t using it even now, although the weather isn’t hot.

Rauda’s kindergarten in Ein al Hilweh

We went to see the kindergarten located next to the spring at the Tayasir junction.  About 20 5-year-olds (the Bedouin children), among them a girl whose legs are paralyzed – she’s more cheerful and mischievous than the others – bouncing happily in her wheelchair.  The kindergarten was established by Jordan Valley Solidarity in a tent surrounded by colorful tires.  A., the kindergarten teacher, tells us that going through the Tayasir checkpoint is unpleasant.  The soldiers always ask personal questions, “Where are you going?”  “Why?”  “What will you do there?” and laugh when they hear his answers.

12:45  Tayashir checkpoint

Border Police soldiers (including one female soldier) man the checkpoint.   People go through quickly.  Every car arriving is signaled to approach, some are asked for documents, others aren’t.  Even though there’s considerable traffic, cars never had to wait.  We spoke with taxi drivers and others; all praised the work of the Border Police.  “There’s always someone who speaks Arabic,” they say; “a golden checkpoint,” say others.  It’s interesting how people can get used to this unnecessary interference with their lives (which, after, has no security justification in this quiet region), the trampling on their freedom of movement, and are grateful that at least they’re not being abused.