Hamra (Beqaot), Tayasir
We passed through the checkpoint.
A large bulldozer was parked on the concrete ramp (picture). Soldiers from the Kfir Brigade (Nachshon regiment) were posted at the checkpoint. Two of them approached, offering us chairs to sit on and cold water to drink. One of them told us that, once, when he was posted at the checkpoint at Qalqiliya, women from Machsomwatch offered water only to the Palestinian drivers, who were sitting in their air conditioned cars while he, after an eight-hour shift in the heat in order to protect those women, remained thirsty with his lukewarm army-supplied water.
According to the soldiers the busy hours at the checkpoint are from 03:00 to 05:30. In the afternoon there are no regular rush hours.
There was very little traffic on the road. The few cars that arrived from the east were directed through the checkpoint in two lanes. There were not many Israeli cars either. Usually on Thursday afternoon they fill the roads and the Hamra junction.
An army Jeep arrived from the north and parked at the junction. After 5 minutes the driver got out to pee in the middle of the junction.
15:15 We left.
Going north we see two tall, impressive buildings rising in Maskiot. The diner above the junction is expanding.
We saw only two soldiers at the checkpost in the center of the road. They were sitting, facing east, with their legs stretched out of the checkpost. They signaled with their hands to the cars arriving from the east. They did not pay attention the cars driving behind them from the west. One of the drivers who dared to get close to the checkpost was firmly reprimanded. It did not help that he explained he had thought the checkpost was empty. "Don't come forward until we call you! There's always somebody here!" There were four cars in line at the moment. When we pointed it out to the soldiers, the answer was, "it's none of your business". With a smartphone in his right hand, one of the soldiers signalled to the driver to pass.
The soldiers were evidently knocked out by the heat. Suddenly, one of them got to his feet and shouted, "Until Whe-e-e-n???"
Later on they checked a taxi driver's ID card: "Open the window! Open! ID card!..."
And then they tried to improve the passage of the cars coming from behind (the west) with the help of a spiked rope that was usually lying on the pavement next to the check post.
Claiming his human rights, one of the soldiers turned to us with the request to erase the pictures we had taken. We promised him not to publish pictures showing their faces. To be sure he wrote down our ID numbers, since he had already checked our site and seen reports with pictures.
We asked him what he was afraid of. He told us the he is a "lonely soldier" (a soldier coming from abroad to serve in the army). He had come to do his army service and then to return to his home in Addis Ababa. "There are many people who refuse to immigrate/are not permitted to immigrate. (We did not understand the Hebrew concept he used, we will try to find out later). But I must contribute to my country. Where had he learnt such good Hebrew? He claimed in the army.
16:30 We left
The security woman seemed surprised, as if she did not know that there is a checkpoint at Tayasir and another one at Hamra. She refused to visit them claiming that she had already finished her army service.
We were released.