Hamra (Beqaot), Tayasir, Za'tara (Tapuah)
A brief report this time. We neither saw nor heard about unusual incidents, and we’re glad. The routine suffering is oppressive enough. We devoted part of our time to arranging a beach day in Tel Aviv for families from the Jordan Valley, who are finally able to participate in this activity after it was cancelled last summer because of the war. We saw many military units along the way and various vehicles on maneuvers. We haven’t been told about residents being evicted from their homes because of the maneuvers, as happened in the past. But there is something new: Salam Fayyad, who as far as we know has no official position in the Palestinian Authority, has been making increasing donations to residents of the Jordan Valley. People in Khalat Makhoul received sheds for their sheep (after the army had demolished the ones they had), and now toilets. It’s an encouraging innovation, because the vast majority of the Bedouin in the Jordan Valley use the outdoors.
09:45 Za’tara checkpoint.
No inspections. As usual, Border Police soldiers guard the settlers’ hitchhiking station toward Jerusalem.
10:00 Ma’aleh Efrayim checkpoint.
No soldiers, nor when we returned.
10:20 Hamra checkpoint.
One lane is still blocked and traffic in both directions uses the single remaining lane. It certainly lengthens the time required to go through the checkpoint. We arrived at a slow period and saw no lines. The other lane had been closed after a Palestinian vehicle went through quickly without stopping for inspection. We won’t raise the question of why there’s even a need for a checkpoint like this, at least an hour’s drive from the Green Line, while most of the large checkpoints in the heart of the West Bank have been removed (the checkpoints at Nablus, Qalqilya and Tulkarm)? And why don’t they solve the problem here like they do at Tayasir – a zigzag lane that forces cars to slow down?
12:30 Tayasir checkpoint.
Almost no traffic at this hour.