Hamra (Beqaot), Tayasir, Tue 3.4.12, Morning
Translator: Charles K.
Photos: Hamra checkpoint, laborers going through
03:45 Bezeq checkpoint – Everything’s dark!!!
We crossed. Two figures walked on the road. We saw no guards at their posts.
04:10 Hamra checkpoint
Very cold and dark. We see only soldiers and the mobile package scanner.
A concrete cube (a base for a streetlight), which we’d used as an improvised table and to against has been wrapped with concertina wire. A soldier approaches and explains: “To prevent disorder, to keep people from climbing the pole.” He agreed to tell us that laborers will start crossing at about 05:00, but then his colleagues yelled to him, in words that would be inappropriate to repeat here, not to reveal “secrets,” to tell us that “all the laborers already crossed, there’s no congestion, go away.” The reprimanded soldier left us. He was followed by Gil’ad, the first sergeant, perhaps to inspect the condition of the concertina wire (his own initiative?)
Shortly after 04:30 a flow of arriving laborers begins and increases. They exit the checkpoint holding their belts in their hands. Some stop to pray, others go wait in the shed. Then they crowd into the vans and drive off. We met people who work in the settlements of Masu’a, Almog, Beqa’ot and Tomer, in the date groves and the vineyards, picking peppers and watermelons. Many, many people, some of them extremely young. The line of cars to the west was very long. One family is on its way to Saudi Arabia. A person we spoke to estimated that about 1000 people come through at this hour.
05:40 We left (frozen), even though the flood of people hadn’t ceased, because we wanted to see what was happening at the Tayasir checkpoint.
06:00 Tayasir checkpoint
It’s becoming a little lighter, but it’s still dark. Flags of the Kfir unit. The upper part of the threatening sign, Welcome. Operational unit 97. War tomorrow, is torn.
The soldiers at the post (we went up to it; no one chased us away) ask, Who are we?? The soldier receiving the answer didn’t understand it. He stopped questioning us after being reprimanded by his colleagues in the post by the road. After his commander whispered something in his ear, the soldier turned his weapon toward the people going through and toward us.
People keep going through; there appear to be no delays. They pass through the labyrinth of revolving gates and go down to the vans awaiting them. There are many fewer people here than at Hamra.
06:30 The checkpoint has emptied. It was light by the time we left. It’s still cold!!!
06:40 The minibus carrying the pupils came toward us. Three girls ran across the road to catch it.
We could see the soldiers south of the road down from Tayasir preparing for their morning training exercises.
07:00 Bezeq checkpoint
We’re asked how we are, we’re requested, in an unpleasant tone, to “open the trunk”…and we cross.