Hamra (Beqaot), Tayasir, Za'tara (Tapuah)
11.20 Zatara/ Tapuach Junction
The positions were not manned
11.40 Ma’aleh Efrayim
As above (and also on the way back at 17.00)
12.00 Hamra checkpoint
At first sight it seemed to be deserted, and then a solitary soldier came out of the hut. There was no Palestinian traffic at the time that we passed-by.
The gate was locked. In the past, it was opened only three times a week. Now, even not that, and for the last two years inhabitants of the Jordan Valley who want to go to a doctor, the grocer, or to visit their children who learn in the Jordan Valley (and stay to sleep there because the occupier denies education for the shepherd communities in the valley), are forced to travel about twenty kilometers to the checkpoints, since there is no public transport.
About ten armed soldiers sat beside the gate. When we approached they all stood-up and came towards us, in a very hostile and aggressive manner. Two vehicles arrived a few minutes later and took them away.
It was still impossible to cross the puddle of mud on the way to the families in Ka’abana` families. We had decided to give each family a contribution of1.000 NIS from the money that had been donated, so that they could buy tarpaulins for their sheep-sheds. We went from family to family and gave this amount to the family’s mother. We explained to them that Jewish women who were shocked by the destruction of their dwellings donated the money to help to rebuild them. The circle of children around us grew as we went from family to family.
One of the women told us that in the month of March 2014, their tractor, without which it is impossible for them to perform their agricultural tasks, was taken from them. They had to pay a 3,500 NIS fine. When we asked “What for?”, she shrugged her shoulders and said “I don’t know; they just came and took it”. She also told us that her family originally came from the Arad area in Israel. In 1948 they were expelled from there to the South Hebron mountain region, and after the 1967 6-Day War, were sent to the Jericho region (E1). They arrived here in 1991.
14.15 Tayasir Checkpoint
There was little traffic. The two detainees whom our friends saw here in the morning shift had been released. The soldiers could only tell us that they had been detained for three hours, and that their crime was that they had been loitering near one of the settlements – they didn’t know which one. The settlers are equipped with warning facilities and every shepherd who is caught by their cameras is taken to the checkpoint without a trial, without any rights to defend himself, and is held for 3-4 hours. Every move of a Palestinian is measured, but every hour of his life can be taken away from him, just like that, and without a thought.
A film team of the Palestinian television service asked to interview me. After the interview, the soldiers detained the team for a few minutes in order to question them about their activities, but not for a long time.
There was a strong army presence on all the roads in the Jordan Valley, including tanks, soldiers, armored personnel carriers, and aircraft which circled above us at low altitude. During the previous night, the troops raided the village of Bardalaand ran wild in the streets. More about this in this report .