Hamra (Beqaot), Fri 1.3.13, Afternoon
Translator: Charles K.
1. The detained youth (photographed by the guest)
2. Barrier on the road to the Tayasir checkpoint
3. Tires placed by the Palestinians to mark road repairs
11:45 Bezeq checkpoint
We went through.
The greenery and spring blossoms are glorious.
The occupation continues to be disgusting and infuriating.
Alon Road – Highway 578
An army jeep parked by the roadside opposite the entrance to the Ro’i settlement. Across the way, at the intersection, stood a large, sparkling Toyota pickup truck.
We stopped to photograph.
A reservist approached to explain that the military security coordinator (with the sparkling Toyota) reported on a Palestinian youth who had been “watching the settlement.” He has no documents, no flock and “has no business near the settlement,” so he has to be detained and taken to the Beqa’ot checkpoint where they’ll know what to do with him. At our request, the polite soldier gave us the youth’s ID number. We explained that if the youth should happen to disappear, the family will know why.
12:15 Hamra checkpoint
Cars going in both directions. At about 12:25 we saw that the youth had been released and left.
Suddenly (12:25) the loudspeakers announced, repeatedly: Checkpoint closed, checkpoint closed.
There were no cars on the road, so we stopped to see whether the checkpoint closed because we were there. That was the reason. One of the two soldiers who approached us made it clear, in a rude and despicable manner, that the checkpoint will remain closed until we’re out of his sight.
In brief – he chased us away.
He refused to give his name; he said his commander ordered him to chase us away so we won’t bother him…
Meanwhile a few cars had arrived, filling the road. We saw the soldiers signaling to cars coming from the west to turn around and go back.
12:45 Even when we’d returned to our car and began driving away the loudspeaker kept announcing “Checkpoint closed, checkpoint closed.” We could still hear the announcement from afar as we drove north. The road shoulders were too narrow to pull over.
We tried to use our rear-view mirrors to see what was going on; it was hard to know when the soldiers opened the checkpoint.
13:05 The road up to the Tayasir checkpoint runs through a green, flowering landscape; the sheep enjoy the bounty.
Oops! A jeep parked perpendicularly to the road blocks our way just before Hamam el-Malih.
No one may pass!!
A soldier explains that explosive devices may have been planted on the road.
He clarifies: “They [the Palestinians] did some work on the road and we’re afraid they might have planted explosives. A tracker will arrive within half an hour to take a look.” We asked him about the two ATV’s we saw on the way. “We made all the Israelis touring Hamam el-Malih to leave.”
There were four tires on the road in addition to the jeep that blocked the way.
The Palestinians who stopped behind us explained. They repaired the pits that had opened in the road by filling them with cement and placed tires at those locations to warn drivers not to drive over the repairs (which they had, in fact, done by themselves). An army water truck was allowed through the dangerous area.
The soldier who spoke to us said, as if revealing a secret, that they know who did it; he’s even detained in their jeep.
We asked for information about the detainee, even though the entire story sounded like a bluff, to spread a rumor among the Palestinian drivers and passengers that what appear to be road repairs were really sabotage, and that they caught the person responsible
13:25 We left.
14:45 Bezeq checkpoint
“Everything’s OK,” and we went through.
I called Dafna in the afternoon, in case that driver had been in contact with her. She and Tal were then in the Jordan Valley; she said that at about 14:00 they reached the Tayasir checkpoint and had seen no roadblock.