Hamra (Beqaot), Tayasir, Sun 23.9.12, Morning
Translator: Charles K.
New crossing procedures at the JordanValleycheckpoints:
- For the past two months, residents of the West Bankare allowed to go through all the checkpoints in their own vehicles, except those on the blacklist or those wanted by the Shin Bet.
- The checkpoint commander may detain Palestinians for up to two hours.
- At the Hamra checkpointPalestinian citizens of Israelmay also cross on both sides.
Despite this relaxing of the restrictions, the checkpoints operate as usual and people still have to wait as long as before. The commander of the Hamra checkpoint himself said that the purpose of the checkpoints is to protect the handful of settlements in the area.
- Appropriation of Bedouin property continues. This time five cows were grabbed from a grazing herd belonging to the Darajmeh family. They were put in quarantine, and the herder was taken to the police station for “interrogation.”
Za’tara/Tapuach junction checkpoint – 11:15
It’s been a long time since we’ve seen cars coming from Huwwara being inspected. Seven vehicles wait in line. Five cars (with yellow license plates, of course) are parked in the fenced plaza, which is forbidden to Palestinians. We didn’t stay.
Ma’aleh Efrayim checkpoint
No soldiers, nor when we returned.
The area cultivated by the settlers near the pumping station, between Gitit and Mekhora, is undergoing expansion. In previous years it was cultivated by a resident of the Na’ama settlement, in the southern JordanValley. Many new plowed fields. Sowing is underway in some of them. All are irrigated. They’re also beginning to use the packing house again, which had been abandoned.
Hamra checkpoint – 11:45
We talked to the checkpoint commander about the changes in arrangements for crossing permits. He explained that the purpose of the inspections is to prevent the entry of terrorists or explosives (by putting those crossing and their belongings through the scanner) in order to protect the settlements in the area. He wasn’t aware that the JordanValleyis not part of Israel. He lives in Jerusalemand seems to have successfully completed the usual Israeli educational process without incident.
A visit to A.’s encampment
There are two guests from Tubas. A., who’d apparently grazed his herd near the Kfir military base, saw people loading 5-6 cows onto a vehicle. He thought they’d been stolen. Later Border Police soldiers came and took him to the Ma’aleh Efrayim police station, leaving the remaining cows with no one to watch them. They sat him down there without explaining why he was arrested. We called the police station. No one answered. We tried three more times, and then called Majid at the DCO. He looked into it and said the cows had been taken by the Israeli authorities (the Civil Administration?) because they’d been abandoned with no herder (!), and placed in quarantine. Now, of course, the owner will be asked to redeem them at considerable expense. A., the herder (who they claimed hadn’t been there) was “only” taken for interrogation (Majid emphasized – only for interrogation, he wasn’t arrested, and when the interrogation is over he may return home). What will they interrogate him about? He doesn’t know, of course. Meanwhile the cows were abandoned, as was the horse he rode.
We drove with one of the brothers to look for the horse where they thought it had last been located, but didn’t find it. Later the brother went to look for the cows. Here’s another example of something that’s been going on for many months, when livestock or equipment is appropriated from the Bedouin and then heavy fines are imposed on them. This is the poorest population in the occupied territories, which barely manages to supply itself with basic necessities – without water, without electricity, without paved roads, homes, health and educational services. And all this in Area C, where Israelis supposed to be responsible for all services.
Tayasir checkpoint – 14:00
Here, too, the checkpoint commander explained the crossing procedures.
As usual at this hour, there’s light traffic. Inspections are conducted normally, despite the loosened restrictions.
Gochia roadblock – 15:00
The gate is closed. There’s no point calling Majid, because he says that there are cameras which permit seeing if anyone arrives, and anyway, no one arrives, because the gate is always closed, etc., etc. So we called Abu Sakr, from Khadidiya, many of whose residents must use this gate, and I gave him Majid’s phone number so he can call whenever someone has to go through. In two weeks we’ll check to see whether this arrangement works.
Za’tara junction – 16:00 No unusual activity. Vehicles aren’t inspected, no matter what direction they’re coming from.