Hamra (Beqaot), Ma'ale Efrayim, Za'tara (Tapuah)

Observers: 
Pitzi, Rina T. (reporting). Translator: Charles K.
16/09/2015
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Morning

 

Sliman Ka’abana’s family, more than ten people altogether, has become the Civil Administration’s scapegoat.  In the middle of last winter, by order of the Civil Administration, their encampment has been demolished and they slowly rebuilt it with the aid of donations from various organizations (including from members of Machsom Watch).  They were assaulted again this summer.  Last month their tractor was seized along with the water wagon which supplies them and their sheep.  They had to pay NIS 4000 to redeem their property (a day’s wages in the Jordan Valley is about NIS 70).  Obviously, they don’t have the money.  Again, Dafna organized a donation.  Today the tractor was seized again.  What will they do now?  Will we contribute every month to the Civil Administration’s coffers?  For how long???  The legal “basis” for the harassment: they live (reside and graze) in a “firing range” to which entry is prohibited. And why is this family in particular being picked on?  The entire northern Jordan Valley (north of Hamra) is a “firing range” (but not when the settlements are concerned), so the thousands of Bedouin living there are all felons and their homes can be demolished and their property seized at any moment, and they have no legal recourse.  The family leases its land from some church organization which is the legal owner.

 

10:20  Tapuach junction/Za’tara checkpoint

No unusual activity.  Two soldiers guard the settlers’ southbound hitchhiking station, as usual.  The two guard towers are manned.

 

10:35  Ma’aleh Adumim checkpoint

The checkpoint hasn’t been manned for months and today, for some reason, a police pickup truck is parked there, two Border Police soldiers beside it.  We stopped and saw them stopping Palestinian vehicles at random for about 3 minutes (we’re in the apartheid region), and inspecting documents.

 

11:00  Hamra checkpoint

The checkpoint continues to operate with only one lane open; intermittently traffic is reversed.  That, of course, doubles the waiting time for crossing.  Sparse traffic at this hour and the lines aren’t long.  When we returned at 16:35 seven cars were on line to the east where we came from and we couldn’t see how many waited on the other side.  We waited ten minutes and during this time fourteen cars crossed from the east and eight from the west.  But the line didn’t shorten.

 

17:25  Tapuach junction/Za’tara checkpoint

At the eastern entrance to the checkpoint there’s a flying checkpoint, an army jeep and soldiers beside it, a spiked barrier preventing vehicles from passing and a line of 4-5 Palestinian vehicles, of course.  Each was stopped for brief questioning.  A settler’s vehicle stands next to the jeep.  After we went through the junction we saw that the checkpoint had been dismantled.

 

We visited families we know, after not having seen them for a long time.  One family, which lives near the Maskiyot settlement, told us they had begun covering their tent with plastic sheeting for the winter and someone from the settlement saw them and called the soldiers.  They arrived immediately and ordered them to remove the plastic, claiming that it’s forbidden.  If they indeed need a permit from the Civil Administration, they have no chance of receiving one.  That’s what’s known as being a good neighbor.

 

We also visited Beisan’s family, who’d recently had surgery at Hadassah in Jerusalem, thanks to the efforts of Machsom Watch members.  We saw her standing and walking with the aid of a walker, after having been all her life (nine years) in a wheelchair!  They sent warm regards to Shuly and Chana, who brought about the miracle.