חמרה (בקעות), תיאסיר
13.45 Bezek Checkpoint
A number of tank-transporters passed us at the Tayasir checkpoint. On the way to the checkpoint there were many military vehicles. On the roadside embankments green patches can already be seen, and the fields are ploughed and ready for the winter. Here and there the road shoulders have been repaired.
14.05 Tayasir Checkpoint
A big bulldozer is parked at the side of the road, pointed eastward. Three soldiers are in the position at the side of the road. One of them brought us a bottle of water, but nevertheless asked us politely to move on (he said that it’s a military area and is a dangerous place, there are terrorist attacks, the checkpoints are targeted, and so on). When he understood that we had no intention to leave, he left us and afterwards returned and asked us what our “agenda” is. A conversation ensued, in which it became clear that ( – my addition), the soldier believed with all his heart in the necessity to keep all the checkpoints in operation, even though it was unpleasant for him to have to search the Palestinians’ cars or ask for identity cards. The discussion, from his point of view, was political and he himself made claims about security. He really wanted to understand (but hadn’t succeed) why an organization like ours didn’t also monitor the settlers’ hitchhiking stations.
During our conversation lots of military vehicles of all kinds passed us in both directions, including buses carrying soldiers. Most of the traffic was in the direction of Area A. Two commercial vans (without windows) with Israeli license plate left the checkpoint to the east.
We left at 15.10
15.20 The Alon highway (road 578).
Right, Earthworks next to the Gochya gate.
Left, raising the rampart at Gochya, which blocks the passage of Jordan Valley inhabitants over open ground and forces them to go through the checkpoint. To the North of the Gochya gate a big new rampart has been raised,in the direction of the main road.
15.45 Hamra Checkpoint (from the left)
A queue of 13-15 cars greeted our arrival and continued until we left; each car had to wait about 20 minutes. The car drivers told us that this is always the situation at this time of day when people return from work. We met people who returned from working at the Itav and Kalya settlements, and another one said that he worked in Jericho (he had left for work at about 4 am). One of the drivers said that he was an officer in the Palestinian police force, and that he was late for work. He asked us if there was any way e could help him. However, it seemed that he understood that also we opposed the continued operation of the checkpoints and that we didn’t have any understanding with the soldiers.
We left at 16.30
16.40 Jewish children and youngsters (with skullcaps and side-locks) sat at the edge of the wadi to the east of the Maskiot settlement, which little water is used for the Palestinians’ cows to drink.
16.50 The Bezek Checkpoint
We were asked by the soldiers how we were doing and from where we had arrived. This time they raised the barrier and weren’t upset by our answer that “we were at the checkpoints”. Transporters loaded with armored troop-carriers passed in front of us at the checkpoint and on the road from the north.