Za’tara Checkpoint (Tapuach Junction) – 9:30
A Delayed Taxi
A Palestinian taxi which has arrived from the direction of Hawwara is detained. A Border Guard jeep is parked beside it. The driver says that he and his passengers have been detained for 20 minutes. The border patrol guards courteously explain that he has committed a traffic violation, but they don’t have the authority to write him up. They noted his identity number. When they receive permission from the Command Center, would they release them? This delay tactic too is a form of punishment. Aside from this, everything is normal. There are border guards in the watchtowers and at the hitchhiking station situated in the direction of Jerusalem.
Checkpoint Ma’ale Efrayim – 9:50
There are no and have not been soldiers here, for many months, except for those two weeks ago.
South of the settlement Mehura large areas are burned after a fire, all of them west of the Allon Road. It looks as if the fires were planned.
We wanted to clarify the condition of the Palestinian non-governmental organization in the Beq’aa valley.
We visited Friendship House of Jordan Valley Solidarity, a voluntary Palestinian organization of residents of the Jordan Valley who have connections to Europe. The house was empty. The neighbors told us that the family that took care of the place went to visit relatives during Ramadan and had not yet returned. The neighbors said that the family rents rooms to workers from the West Bank who work in the settlements. The place did not appear to be very cheerful.
Abu el Agage
Still recovering from the destruction
We came for a get-acquainted visit. Ten families of shepherds live there, next to the settlement of Massua. In the past year, all of the buildings in their settlement have been destroyed. The reason, as they told us, was that they were too close to a settlers’ community. According to the Palestinians, they were there long before the settlement. Fragments of destroyed sheep pens still remained and there were piles of tin and spikes. In the site where we were, plastic tents which they had received from the Palestinian Authority replaced the tents were destroyed, all in a very crowded area resembling temporary refugee tent camps. There were only women and children. They regarded us suspiciously.
Checkpoint Hamra – 11:15
Only one lane is open, as has been the case for some months. According to what we were told in the past, this is due to shortage of personnel. At the hour we were there, and also when we returned, there were no traffic jams.
A visit with families A. and K., next to the Headquarters of the Kfir Brigade, and a rare meeting with school children
This is an opportunity to meet with the children, students in the school who, during the year, study far from here,in Ojah, near Jericho. This is because the only nearby school is in the small town of Tamon, and the road that leads to it is blocked by the Guchia gate. herefore, the children, from Grade 1 on, have to live with relatives in Ojah, and go home only at the end of the week. We brought them toys and games that we collected during the year and we played together.
A Visit with Family D. in El Malah – how to go from the Middle Ages to the 20th Century wit the help of one man.
IImagine a tent with no floor, no furniture, except a metal bed and two broken plastic chairs, with chickens running around, and suddenly — a television set tuned to “National Geographic,” water with ice cubes from the refrigerator, and at night, an LED lamp that lights the tent. And all this thanks to Salam Fiad, former treasury minister of the PI, who distributes large solar panels to families in the Beq’aa (not to everyone), for heating water). This is the latest in technology which revolutionizes the Bedouins' lives, who up until now were lliving ike our ancestors, with cellular phone the only advance them). We didn’t travel to the Tayasir Checkpoint because they told us that it was still open to traffic.
Tapuach Junction – Za’tara – 15:20 (Returning)
A police vehicle was parked in the junction, in a southern direction. We didn’t see any delayed cars at the time we passed it by.