Hamra (Beqaot), Tayasir

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Ravital Sela, Rucheleh Hayut (reporting, photographing) Translator: Charles K.

14:30 – 17:30



* Boulders block a dirt road leading to a tent encampment of local residents.

* Earthworks in the Umm Zuka nature reserve.

* Tayasir checkpoint, looking west.


14:30  Bezeq checkpoint

Haze, dust, the broom shrubs in full bloom, their fragrance intoxicating.  The landscape is glorious, even through the haze.  But the shitty situation that brings us here is trying and oppressive.


14:50  Hamra checkpoint

A soldier (the commander) asked who we were and returned to the other soldiers.  The line of cars that formed from the west is directed through two lanes.  Traffic isn’t heavy.  Mostly laborers arriving in minibuses.  In some cases the passengers are inspected through the rear door.  IDs of those heading west toward the West Bank are inspected by a soldier in position on the road.


15:25  We left.


We visited B. and his family in Khalat Makhoul, a locality demolished a few months ago by army bulldozers.  They’re also waiting and hoping for rain.

At Dafna’s suggestion we went to see how the army is destroying the Umm Zuka nature reserve.  The elevated location overlooks the entire area.  An army base sits at the top of the rise (after all, it’s a nature reserve) and many antennas, and probably also cameras.  Last summer, after the demolition, residents of Khalat Makhoul told us about the cameras recording all their movements in the village.


The road up to the Tayasir checkpoint

We understand from the signs posted that the Etzioni regiment is conducting maneuvers in the area, using the Tevetz base.  We saw the soldiers and tents in familiar locations.  West of Hamam el Malih blocks of stone have been excavated from the yellow rock and placed by the roadside, some of them blocking the road to the encampment of the family living by the road.


16:40  Tayasir checkpoint

We ran into the soldier who’d grabbed a notebook from us last month and brought over his commander (Captain B.) to detain us.  We decided not to go up to the emplacement.  There were minibuses here also returning laborers from work.  About ten soldiers emerged from a closed military vehicle with open turrets and entered the tower’s courtyard.  We heard firing throughout our time there.  The sounds also came from the direction of what’s defined as Area A.  An officer (a major) in a jeep stopped next to us and with an (unpleasant) smile explained that “Area A is a political term.  I don’t speak politics.  Yes, we’re training there (in Area A), because it’s my training ground.”  And left.


17:10  We left.


17:30  Bezeq checkpoint.  We were briefly interrogated about what we’d been doing.  We were asked where we were heading.  The trunk was opened, closed, and the barrier raised.