Hamra, Tayasir, Mon 21.4.08, Afternoon
The checkpoints we visited, including Maale Efrayim, were all manned by reserve soldiers. Inspection pace and attitude towards Palestinians – accordingly.Regarding the recent 'hot' subject – removal of barriers: the first barrier gate on the road between Aqraba and Majdal Bani Fadel was open.
Tayasir Checkpoint – 12:55
No waiting line of any kind, probably because no one seems keen on making life unbearable for anyone. (In sharp contrast to long periods in which the checkpoint, like others in this region, has been manned by regular soldiers, especially the infamous Orthodox Nahal units).
The soldiers are reservists, and a Palestinian comes to tell us that they're "good, unlike those young ones that are usually here."
I., the checkpoint commander, comes to introduce himself, asks if we would like some chairs, and upon hearing that we're from Tel Aviv, responds, "Good, it's a good thing you come here!"
We left Tayasir Checkpoint at 13:50.
On our way to Hamra Checkpoint, north of the colony, on the right hand side of the right side of the road, a dirt mound barrier has been removed at the intersection of the main road and a dirt road running through the fields and up into the hills.
Hamra/Beqaot checkpoint – 14:20
A taxi driver waves to us – "Come every day! Usually there are lots of problems, but today is good."
No detainees; the soldiers greet us. Taxis heading west go through rapidly.
The soldiers here too are reservists and it is evident in every detail – including a water bottle for Palestinians standing on the concrete ledge of the empty detainees pen. When cars arrive in both directions at once, they are checked simultaneously.
The soldiers don't interfere when we station ourselves inside the checkpoint.
Total quiet. Flea bites chased us away at 15:00