Hamra (Beqaot), Tayasir, Za'tara (Tapuah), Mon 17.12.12, Morning
Translator: Charles K.
10:55 Za’tara checkpoint/Tapuach junction.
11:20 Ma’aleh Efrayim checkpoint.
People entering the JordanValleyare inspected. The soldiers say entry is permitted to vehicles belonging to West Bankresidents. We picked up a hitchhiker, a student at a hesderyeshiva at Ma’aleh Efrayim. Like everyone else in a hesderyeshiva, he does a 16-month army service and studies in the yeshiva during the remainder of his service, a total of 4 years. He said that Ma’aleh Efrayim was a secular settlement (like most of the localities in the JordanValley). Its residents tend to be poorer. A group of yeshiva students is organizing to remain there as permanent inhabitants to strengthen the settlement and give it a religious atmosphere.
South of the Mechora settlementare many newly-plowed fields.
11:40 Hamra checkpoint.
Almost no traffic. The commander says residents of the West Bank are permitted to enter the JordanValleywith their vehicles. They detain only those indicated by the Shabak or the police.
Plowed fields beyond the dike and ditch stretching from the Hamra checkpoint to the Gochia gate – apparently cultivated by Palestinians.
It has been re-erected. The gate is closed, of course. A new red sign next to it prohibits entry from the west, warning that it’s dangerous and also illegal.
We met two women from EAPPI, the international church group. They told us that the Bedouin who live in Homsa, 8 km. east of the Beqa’ot settlement, received last month an order, valid for 6 months, authorizing their removal from their homes whenever the army conducts maneuvers in the area. They were ordered to leave their homes this morning before 06:00, and began getting ready at 02:00. They have to be at least 5 km away for the entire day. That’s how they remain, the men, the women, the elderly, the children, with no shelter, in the rain. This is the lambing season, and it’s very difficult to move the sheep that are giving birth and the newborn lambs.
13:00 Tayasir checkpoint.
The same new red signs here as well. We asked drivers whether residents of the West Bank are allowed to enter the JordanValleywith their cars. They said that two weeks ago it was prohibited, ten days ago it was allowed, and the exact answer was: sometimes yes, sometimes no. Only when you get to the checkpoint will you find out whether today is yes or no.
15:55 Hamra checkpoint (returning).
Eight cars wait from the east, four from the west. All crossed within five minutes.
16:15 Ma’aleh Efrayim checkpoint.
There was no unusual activity at the Tapuach/Za’tara junction either.