Hamra, Tayasir, Tue 2.10.07, Afternoon
When we arrived, there was the usual ritual - at a distance of about 100 meters, we heard the guard on the watch tower warn his peers about us. The CP commander begins to walk toward us and we meet him at about 40 meters from the CP. He banishes us as expected to the concrete huts. About 80 meters from there. Last week his brigade commander agreed that we could stand exactly there, near the water tank, but he refuses to ask the brigade commander again.
The soldiers leave the CP despite the fact that there are many cars waiting; they go to have a meal. After 5 minutes the commander announces that the CP will remain closed because of us. (We are the enemy and the IDF will do everything in order to get us away from the CP. It is worthy of mention that we did not initiate any conversation with the soldiers and we did not ask anything of them.)
There is a queue of 9 cars going from west to east and on the other side there are 3 cars and 2 buses full of laborers who are returning from their day's work in the fields of settlements.
It is very hot and the Palestinians are fasting.
Out of consideration for those poor people, we go back to the place that the soldier insisted on. Before that I approached to see if there is anybody in the internment pen and went back immediately. Then the CP was opened to traffic.
It turns out that the soldiers did not waste time during their pause for food. At 13:10 a police car arrives; two policemen (and a soldier accompanying them) talk to the soldiers. 13:40 - after some time, one of the policemen approaches us and explains to us that we are detained because we are "interfering with a public official". I asked him if, when he arrived, or at any time at all, he saw me interfere, and he said, "no, but maybe you interfered earlier..."
We asked to file a counter-complaint on interference with volunteers from an organization for human rights, who want to carry out their tasks. While they were taking my testimony, there was news of a fatal auto accident and the policemen were required to get to the location of the accident. They did not rush especially - not before they finished with our case which was undoubtedly the most difficult and the most urgent. Since we are more considerate than they, Shula decided not to continue testifying so that the forces could be freed to save lives.
In the meantime, the queue on both sides of the CP is shorter, but the rhythm is very slow.
14:00 We leave. 7 cars coming from the west are waiting.
On the way to Tayasir c/p we visited the new-old residence of the Hadida family, who reported to us that despite the fact that they have left what the army defined as a "military area", their two water tanks were not returned to them. Despair is tangible everywhere. Tomorrow they can take away the third and last tank. What will happen then? Now they are living in a place that has an abolition decree of the administration in charge of planning "for tents and sheep pens" (quotation from the decree).
When we arrived there was only one truck waiting on the eastern side. The soldiers are settled comfortably in the air-conditioned hut and the truck waits in the heat for about 10 minutes, until they notice us and let the truck and another two cars through.
When we left and returned to the car, the soldiers went back to the hut and paid no attention to a truck and a taxi that were waiting. We returned and got out of our car and the soldiers came out and let them through.
16:00 We left.
Near Hamam el Maliech, a Palestinian acquaintance stopped us and told us the following story. An old Bedouin, about 75 years old was detained yesterday at 15:00 on the hills where he shepherded his sheep, not far from the Tyassir CP. He was taken to the CP and detained there for two hours, until the police arrived and took him away. After that he disappeared. When his family phoned the DCO they were told that he is in custody in the Maaleh Efraim police station.
I phoned the DCO and after some questioning, we were told that he is in custody in the Ariel police station, because of "stealing a cartidge of bullets" - meaning empty cartridges that were on the ground!!!
I phoned the Ariel police station and the detention officer notified me that the man is really in custody because he stole cartridges, spent the night in jail and was freed this morning at 8:00 a.m. I asked if they had asked him whether he knew the way home (about 150 kilometers from there) and if he had money for the trip (the man was taken from the field) and the answer was negative. An old man of 75, who had never been more than 20 or 30 kilometers from his camp, is walking around without money on the West Bank and he has no idea where he is!!!
I asked if he would send his grandfather away in that fashion, and the policeman had a pang of emarrassment, but claimed that it wasn't his fault, and they shouldn't have sent him (the Bedoui) to him, and it wasn't his job to take the old man by the hand and to bring him home! The family was frightened and I was reminded of how I would look for my grandfather when he got lost, and the terror, in the dark, of a man who is lost. After a difficult day of fasting, and with little strength and with no idea of where to go.
At 10:00 at night, the man reached his camp. He had been walking all day long, did not know where he was going, and slept at the roadside, until somebody brought him to the Jiftlik and from there, they brought him home. For this, not even a fast of a whole month can atone.