Hamra (Beqaot), Ma'ale Efrayim, Tayasir, Za'tara (Tapuah), Sun 15.4.12, Afternoon
Translator: Charles K.
*About ten days ago the army demolished two buildings that had been erected without a permit in the area of Parisiyya, north of Hamam el-Maliah. Because the Oslo Agreements define the entire Jordan Valley as Area C, completely under Israeli control, since 1967 the Civil Administration has not granted any Palestinian a permit to construct even a shed or dig a cistern to collect rainwater, and every building constructed during the past 45 years is illegal and subject to demolition at any moment.
*At the Za’tara junction we witnessed activities that reminded us of how people were punished at the Huwwara and Beit Iba checkpoints during the difficult times before the Nablus checkpoints were removed.
*The Gochia checkpoint is closed as usual, as it has been during the past few months.
Za’tara junction 11:5-11:40
No inspections. We were waiting for a man blacklisted by the Shabak, who was to sign documents so Sylvia could file an appeal.
We picked up two young hitchhikers, settlers from Yizhar and Itamar. We had an interesting conversation, particularly with one of them, a hesder soldier from the Kfir brigade. We learned about him, his education, what he expects out of life, etc. At the Hamra checkpoint he met soldiers he knew from the brigade and said they’d received orders from their commanders not to talk to women from MachsomWatch.
Ma’aleh Efraim checkpoint
There were no soldiers when we came or when we returned.
Hamra checkpoint -12:20
Almost no traffic. Vehicles entering Area A go through quickly without inspection.
We saw two soldiers on the right side of the road before the Tayasir checkpoint, a water wagon, and two tents, and more soldiers some distance away.
Tayasir checkpoint - 14:00
Traffic is light here too. People crossing to Area A are inspected – they hand their IDs to the soldier. Those coming from the West Bank get out of their vehicles and are inspected, as are their belongings.
We spoke to a soldier who was on his way to the base next to the checkpoint, but he took care not to approach us (apparently because of the order given to the soldiers at the Hamra checkpoint).
M., who had been beaten in early February by the person in charge of security at the Rotem settlement, and filed a complaint with the police, is still waiting for the attacker’s trial to take place.
K. told us that ten days ago the Civil Administration demolished two buildings in the Parisiyya area even though they’d been built a few years ago, because they’d been erected without a permit.
Three tanks and three tank transporters opposite the Ro’I settlement.
Gochia checkpoint - 15:15
The checkpoint is closed as usual, and no-one is waiting, because everyone knows there’s no chance of it opening. We phoned Zaharan at the DCO, as usual, who said he’d been promised that soldiers would be sent to open the gate. We didn’t wait to see whether they actually arrived.
Za’tara checkpoint (Tapuach junction) - 16:10-17:25
A Palestinian taxi and a minibus were detained in the middle of the plaza and we went over to see what was going on. Two young men have been removed from the taxi; the driver said that one didn’t have an ID. They’ve been waiting for five minutes. Most of the young people are students at Al-Najah. They were taken to be questioned by the Shabak on the other side of the white wall concealing the buildings at the northeast part of the plaza. Students from the second taxi were also taken for questioning. When they returned, they reported they’d been questioned about various matters, about their families, and the interogators tried to enlist them to cooperate with the Shabak. Mostly, they were offered money. They refused.
One of the detainees from the first taxi returned about 20 minutes later. The soldier (there were 3-4 Border Police soldiers) tried to convince the driver to go on and leave the second detainee behind. The driver was uncertain, asked for our advice (we said it was his decision), and finally left. “His” detainee was made to stand inside a concrete cube next to an armed soldier, and stood there for another hour, until we left at 17:25. We weren’t able to speak to him. Two other young men stood near him, and after about half an hour a soldier brought their ID cards from the Shabak and they were released.
The students riding in the minibus were taken one by one, in turn, for questioning by the Shabak. The minibus was still waiting when we left – it had been delayed for more than an hour and a half.
It’s been a long time since we’ve seen young people detained at the checkpoints. Three weeks ago the same thing occurred here. It turns out that soldiers stop taxis randomly and send young passengers to be questioned by the Shabak.
A rental car from the Eldan company also stood in the plaza, carrying a police officer and a soldier. A Palestinian vehicle without a license plate but with the license plate number on a sign attached to the windshield was directed to it. The two young men in the vehicle were detained for a short time, had a friendly conversation with the solder and then continued on their way.