Hamra (Beqaot), Tayasir, Thu 24.10.13, Afternoon
13:55 Bezeq Checkpoint
Road 578, Alon Road
The embankment has been heightened (winterize your barriers!)
14:15 Hamra Checkpoint
Workers return from their jobs at the Settlements via busses, minibuses and transits… The checkpoint is bustling with traffic. The soldiers staffing it are equipped with protective vests, and drawn, loaded weapons, two women soldiers and a dog that barks and frightens a donkey that passed through the checkpoint. Additionally there is a small vehicle with some officers and women soldiers (perhaps on a tour), a military ambulance (not clear why). Army jeeps arrive and pass to the west (Area A), or return eastward. Two private vehicles with Israeli license plates go westward (i.e., to Area A where Israelis are forbidden). Palestinian children (students) leave the former inspection facility and we didn’t understand their explanation of why they were there. They continued to play around the area east of the checkpoint. Suddenly someone pointed at us saying “Zionists from the United States”, that came off a bus labeled “Gush Etzion Tours”. Without asking any questions or knowing who we were, the rushed at us angrily, calling us “self-hating Jews”, and reminded us of the concentration camps, expressed their anger that the settlements were fenced in, sent us to learn something about the story of this country and whose country it really is. They complained about Negev Bedouin, and the fact that on the flight to Israel from to New York, the inspection takes two hours. Accompanying them there was the proud tour organizer and when we tried to find out from him who these people were he chose to leave. They took our pictures and pictures of our tags, as if we were being shown at an exhibition. After they left we traveled to the checkpoint to see if we could also go through it westward, after all, we have a yellow plate. The well-equipped soldiers prevented us from passing. When we asked why they were allowed and we were refused, one answered: I don’t have to give you an ‘accounting’. (The license plate of one of the vehicles that passed was: 5013179).
15:30 Tyasir Checkpoint
The overflowing garbage from the container still litters the access road: sliced bread in plastic bags, cucumbers, fruit, avocado…and lots of cats. We were satisfied with berries that look like Jujubes. Here too there is worker traffic. The road spikes are exposed and with them the arm that blocks the road. A soldier approaches to tell is this is “Military Area”. He said that the arm blocking the road is not functioning thus they are working the second arm that’s connected to the spikes. We learned that they were Combat Engineers who arrived yesterday and will not be staying long. An Israeli flag stretched across the wall of the yard of the guard tower is their initiative. We also learned that due to the cuts in the IDF they don’t send Reserve soldiers here, only regular soldiers for short periods.