Hamra (Beqaot), Tayasir
On the first day of the year 2015, the army destroyed the encampments of several families in Um Jamal. Destruction of encampments is a deliberate policy, which is executed every few months. This is another method, painful and cruel, which is aimed at the goal – to decrease the Palestinian population in the Jordan Valley, and especially the Bedouins, who are the poorest and weakest people there. But because they have nowhere to go they are forced to erect their tents afresh, and at the most the move a few hundred meters one way or another, because they want to continue to keep alive. Also the army commanders know that they won’t evaporate, so that each such operation to turn-out men, women and children into the cold and rain in winter, and the terrible heat in summer - is wickedness itself. There is no other conceivable reason. It’s true that it’s legal, but they can’t appeal to a court of law; and who passed this draconian law ?
09.45 Za’tara checkpoint and the Tapuz road junction
A patrol car of the transport ministry was standing at the road junction. A big truck with Palestinian license—plates was being inspected. A blue police-car was parking next to the patrol car in order to issue summonses to those whose vehicle is found to have a defect. This could result in an order “to remove the vehicle from the road” and quarantine it. All this is of course combined with heavy fines.
Also this is a whip in the hands of the occupation authorities, to burden, punish and discipline the life of the Palestinians. We always see only Palestinian cars being inspected, compared with the Jewish inhabitants of the area. Although this time an Israeli truck also stood there, but we did not wait to enquire if it was just waiting or whether it also was detained for inspection.
10.00 Ma’aleh Efraim checkpoint There were no soldiers there.
The Gitit settlement - There are many new hot-houses linked to the residential quarters. The neighborhoods belong to Gitit, and are next to the “bath-tub ` pumping station. In the past they were leased, some of them not cultivated and some sown as non-irrigated crops, even though the settlements have generous water allocations.
The Mechura settlement also owns non-irrigated land. Is this because a fallow year started this year? About a month ago, we saw a sign “here we keep the Fallow Rules” – even though both the settlements are secular.
Hamra checkpoint – there was little traffic.
On 1.1.2015, the army destroyed the encampments of several families here, together numbering about eighty people, and including the sheep pens. It was In the middle of the winter, at the beginning of the big storm, the cold and the rains. In the meantime, some good people mobilized to help them; we were among them at Dafna’s initiative, and a collection was organized to buy plastic sheeting to cover the tents. We visited one of the families. The way to the encampment was almost impassable and we walked most of the way.
The parents drove with one of the girls, five years old, to the hospital in Nablus. We did not manage to find out what she was suffering from. Mainly the girls received us, because the older boys were out in the pasture. There are eleven children in the family. Six tents were destroyed (both for the people and the sheep), and at present they have only two tents which the Palestinian authority brought them. There is no cover for the sheep and they fear that they may die from the rain and the cold.
13.40 Tayasir Checkpoint
Three shepherds were detained, one of them a youth (whose parents approached Dafna, and told her that he is twelve years old), and two more young men. Two of them were sitting on the steps leading to the pedestrian inspection station (which is not in use) and one on the pavement. All three were detained for three hours, and one hour remained; we met one of them on our previous shift – then his uncle was in prison and he came to look after the flock.
“What is their crime?” we asked the commander of the checkpoint. His answer: “They approached the gate of the Beqaot settlement”