Hamra (Beqaot), Ma'ale Efrayim, Tayasir, Za'tara (Tapuah), Sun 19.8.12, Afternoon
Translated by Naomi G.
According to Ma’ged, the checkpoints commander in the local DCO, 3 weeks ago the restrictions on the entrance of west-bank citizens to Jordan Valley were lifted. We didn’t check if the order was indeed executed. Does this leniency intended for the Ramadan Month only? The checkpoints were operating as usual.
Following Daphne’s report from 8/8/12 about the confiscation of 80 cows that were, according to military authorities, in the way of traffic (that is always quite sparse). The family paid 15,000 shekels (besides the lawyer’s fee) and got back 22 cows less than were taken away. The army admitted that 8 cows died and were buried. Many cows were returned wounded. No compensation was offered to the family.
We realized that in fact there were cameras warning about people waiting to cross at the closed Gochia checkpoint. 20 minutes after we got there an army vehicle arrived. Ma’ged said that he gave, as well, his phone number to people living west of the gate, in case they wanted to cross. Still, during the last weeks, since the gate was repaired, no one went through. If this the solution to the problem of the checkpoint being constantly closed? We need to go on checking, especially with the residents that need to cross here. It seems that Ma’ged is the best address when clarifications are needed.
First day of Eid al Fiter (celebration of the end of the Ramadan fast): there is more traffic at the checkpoints, mainly of families visiting for the holydays. People who we usually meet were elsewhere, visiting relatives.
Za’tara /Tapuach Checkpoint – 14.00
The lot is empty. No soldiers except on guarding towers.
Ma’aleh Efrayim checkpoint – 14.15
There is a soldier at the checking point toward the Jordan Valley. But we were told that there are no restrictions for entering the Valley, and that lately there are no checking at all, so why today all of a sudden? A white transit with army license plate is parked here (the civil administration? General Security Services?)
While we were there no Palestinian car passed by, so we couldn’t see if inspections were performed. When we came back two hours later there were no soldiers around.
Gitit Settlement – on the other side of the settlement, the west side of the road, new hothouses with vines were raised. Further, facing the Pumping Institute of Mekorot, the Water Company, there is a large unplowed field (not Palestinian, obviously). There are no settlements in this area and in previous years a settler from the west valley worked the land.
Hamra Checkpoint – 14.40
At 40 Celsius degrees heat, passengers who left the car for inspection, are waiting for the checking to end so that they can get back to the cars and travel to their destinations, it usually takes 2-3 minutes.
Gochia checkpoint – 15.00
After waiting for 20 minutes the checkpoint commander arrived. See at the head of the report.
Tayasir Checkpoint – 16.45
Here, too, more traffic than usual, especially heading west. It doesn’t seem as if there are more people who want to take advantage of the leniency at the Valley’s entrance, as the commander said. The same goes for Hamra’s checkpoint.
Between Roee and Mehora settlements lives a Bedouin family. Army units constantly train in front of their tents, often with live fire. The maneuver lasts all week long. The family lives in constant fear of someone being hurt. 4 adults and 4 children live there. If they move their tents, the camp will be destroyed and they will have no place to live.
A bus downloads soldiers who settle beside the road.
In K. camp next to Masciot settlement – We heard from their members about the continuation of the procedures concerning their 80 (according to them 120) cows that were confiscated 10 days ago. See head of report.
Za’tara/Tapuah Checkpoint – 18.30
Three border guards next to the guarding tower in the middle of the main lot.
Four soldiers are standing on both sides of the road leading to Huwwara. During the 15 minutes we waited no car stopped for inspection. There are no soldiers here during the last months. It’s hard to believe that these soldiers, who were brought here on purpose, did nothing. We had no time for follow-up.
On the side of the road on the western side a police car stopped a Palestinian car for inspection.