Hamra (Beqaot), Za'tara (Tapuah), Sun 11.3.12, Morning

Observers: 
Naomi L., Rina Z. (reporting)
11/03/2012
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Morning

Translator:  Charles K. 

The Judea and Samaria district police also do their part to embitter the lives of the Jordan Valley’s Palestinian residents.  Last week N., a police officer, issued a NIS 1000 ticket to M.A., a shepherd, because he had crossed the Alon road with his flock.  Since the grazing land is on the other side of the road, he has no choice but to cross it twice a day.  There’s very little traffic on the road.  The traffic ticket stated that (only) one car was delayed.  Why did he get a ticket?  To teach him not to cross the road?!  The next day, the same police officer, a resident of a nearby settlement, issued a NIS 250 ticket to each of two passengers in a car who he claimed weren’t wearing seat belts.

I assume the amounts are those set by Israeli law, but the occupied territories, and the Jordan Valley in particular, are the Third World, with a Third World economy.  A laborer in a settlement earns about NIS 70-90 a day, without any benefits, and still has to pay for transportation.  NIS 1000, in the Jordan Valley, is a huge amount.  That’s oppression!

Gochia checkpoint

The checkpoint, through which tractors can reach the Alon road from the west, is supposed to open three times a week for half an hour in both the morning and the afternoon.  During the past six months, we found it open three times.  All the other times we called the DCO, who promised it would open, but it didn’t.  That’s how they showed the area’s Palestinian residents that there’s an additional restriction on movement within the Jordan Valley, and nothing can be done about it after the barrier ditch, preventing vehicles from crossing the road from west to east, was deepened.

Shomron gate 10:50

Two Border Police vehicles and a few soldiers on the side into the occupied territories.  It’s not clear why they’re there.  There are no delays.

Tapuach junction - 11:00

No soldiers, neither when we returned.

Ma’aleh Efrayim checkpoint

No soldiers, neither when we returned.

The cultivated fields of the Mechora settlement have expanded southward.  A number of new chicken houses.

Hamra checkpoint 11:45-12:05

A woman and two men wait for their taxi to come through the checkpoint.  The taxi driver carries all their belongings to the scanner by himself – two heavy boxes, and a heavy bag. The soldiers stand and watch as a man, who’s not very young, carries the heavy belongings back and forth, and it’s inconceivable that any of them would help him.  That’s what the lengthy occupation has accustomed us to.  There are rulers, and there are subjects.

The tent encampment opposite the settlement of Maskiyot

Last week M.A. grazed his flock on the other side of the Alon road.  He had to cross the road to return to his tent.  A police officer from the Ma’aleh Efrayim station, who happened to pass by, issued him a ticket for NIS 1000 for “obstructing traffic.”  It should be noted that a car passes on that road only about every five minutes.  The police officer noted on the ticket that (only) one car was obliged to wait.  We should note that the same police officer, who lives in one of the settlements in the area, issued tickets in the sum of NIS 500 to two Bedouin traveling on the same road for not using seatbelts.

A handicapped girl, about six years old, lives in this encampment.  Her feet are twisted; she can't walk.  A few years ago she underwent an operation on her spine in Ramallah.  Her father bought her a wheelchair for 200 or 300 shekels, in poor condition.  She’s a lively, cheerful girl, impish, somehow manages to move around and play with the other children.  She attends school in the tent encampment below Maskiyot.  Her father says the doctors told him nothing could be done for her.  We have to think of a way to help her.