Hamra (Beqaot), Tayasir
12:00 Tapuach Junction/ Za'atara CP
Not manned. At the post above the junction a backhoe is in operation, apparently for building an improved post.
12:20 Ma'aleh Ephraim CP
Industrial zone -- Ma'ale Ephraim
Deserted for the most part, only two or three industrial buildings are in operation. All the rest are closed and rusting.
On Road 90, near Masua, for the first time in ages, Palestinians have set up a small vegetable stand and are selling produce from the field behind to people in the passing cars. Until the army destroys it, as has happened in the past, it will be possible for them to make a little money. That is a reasonable option in the face of the many hardships that attend the transportation of agricultural produce through the CPs.
12:45 - Hamra CP
There is a line of eight cars from the direction of the Jordan Valley and another five from the direction of Nablus. Inspections are slow and very thorough even for those coming through to the areas of the Palestinian Authority. People in the queue say that they have been waiting for a quarter of an hour. Since it is hot and most of those waiting do not have air-conditioning in their cars, 15 minutes is a lot. It is not clear if this is because of us, but the inspection begins to go more quickly and within ten minutes the queues on both sides have disappeared. We stand at the junction and observe from a distance. The confrontation with the soldiers when we come close only hurts the Palestinians and we prefer to avoid that. But from this distance, our observation is very limited.
In the colony of Maskiyot, we see new construction, another extension beyond the one they made a year ago. We go into the settlement and see two new buildings being put up -- one is quite big and looks like a community center, a gigantic school or perhaps a new building for the pre-military academy. We visited the Dragma family at the Hamam-el-Maliach junction. The wife has a bandaged finger. A week ago a snake bit her. She lost consciousness and was sent to the hospital in Jenin. She was unconscious for three days, until she overcame it. Her hand is still very swollen, as is the rest of her body.
14:00 Tyasir CP
There is a long queue of about ten vehicles in the direction of the Valley. On the western side there is a queue, too, and we cannot see the end. The soldiers are in the air-conditioned hut and they are not doing any inspections. Some of the Palestinians who came from the direction of the Valley have already been standing outside their non-air-conditioned cars for forty-five minutes!!! Five minutes after we arrive, they start letting people through, inspecting those coming from both directions. And after twenty minutes the queue disappears (there really is almost no traffic in this place). We climbed up to the entrance of the Umm Zuka nature preserve in order to check the progress of the construction of the shooting range within the area of the preserve. It looks as if they are widening the road which goes there and also putting up a gate. Will people be barred from entering the nature preserve once the range is put into operation?
On the way back, again there is a long queue of vehicles waiting at the Hamra CP from the direction of the Valley. Trucks with agricultural produce, a bus with people on a trip, and just cars with people who are trying to get home from work or from the dentist's .....
Ma'ale Ephraim CP