Hamra (Beqaot), Tayasir
A sunny day, the entire Jordan Valley is bright green, with water flowing here and there.
We first visited the A. family, to see how Bisan, the little girl, is doing. To all who participated: Good news! The wound on her leg is almost healed, which means the operation is approaching. A fresh puddle of blood glistened on the ground near the tent – a chilling sight. It turned out that Muhammad, the father, had slaughtered a sheep in our honor just 15 minutes earlier (in front of the many toddlers running around) and asked us to wait for the women to prepare something. The gesture touched us, but mostly shocked us (me, at least), and despite our wish to respond to their good intentions we refused to participate in the feast and asked everyone to do so in our stead. It was embarrassing. In any case, we didn’t go home empty handed: parcels of winter clothing, shoes and gifts we’d brought along were exchanged for bags of soft goat cheese made by Mona, and warm bread with onion and wild hyssop, made by Yisra Umm Bisan. Thanks to Maiada we could play with the little ones and talk to the adults about everything, laugh, go into detail. On the way back along Highway 90 a colorful vegetable stand appeared near the greenhouses, as in the past. We filled the trunk with eggplants and cucumbers and long, spicy, pale green shipka peppers and large heads of cauliflower, all local, picked this morning from the nearby fields. Last week, the boys told us, the army came and destroyed the stand and scatteredall the vegetables.
At noon the Hamra checkpoint was quiet. Cars went through in all directions with no inspection or delay. We had two conversations: one was short and expectedly frustrating, with a soldier who came over to say hello and ask who we were. He said he’d received a text which had apparently instructed him to ask us for identification. I gave him my name and the link to the website, in return for his name. It was from him that I first learned that the soldiers at the checkpoint are not only keeping Israel safe but are also protecting the Palestinians from terrorists. I asked for clarification but he seemed to be restraining himself from making additional “loaded” statements. The second conversation was with a local resident who lives not far from the checkpoint. We talked about different things, and he mentioned that the Jews were no worse that the senior members of the Palestinian Authority. The Jews make problems and the officials rob the farmers, steal the donated funds and build themselves palaces abroad. He said he didn’t need more than one wife (who’d borne him 14 children), a little food and a roof over his head. “At my age, I’ve already attended funerals of many friends,” he said, “I haven’t seen anyone buried with money and cattle and cars…”
13:10 Tayasir checkpoint is quiet and empty. The burned car is still there. Cars go through in both directions without inspection. A vehicle stops beside us. Where’s Dafna?, someone asks. I reply, as usual: “I’m Dafna!”, and, as usual, I’m not convincing.