Hamra, Tayasir, Thu 3.7.08, Afternoon

Observers: 
Daphne B, Lizzy S. (Reporting); Guests: Karine and Keren
03/07/2008
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Afternoon
Translation: Devorah K.

12:20 Zaatara CP - no people going through in any direction.

12:53 - Ma'aleh Efraim CP
A Palestinian vehicle is standing still. The driver is waiting for a sign from the soldier, but the soldier is busy talking to his friend. After a few minutes, the Palestinian goes through and it seems that the soldiers are interested in our presence; they make jokes to one another, and try to make insulting remarks to us.

13:14 - Hamra CP
A number of people are waiting for taxis to pick them up. All those who go through the CP from Nablus have to get out of the cars and go through the CP on foot. Since the inspection of the cars takes longer, they are forced to wait for a long time, near a bush that gives some shade.
In the CP we looked for the detaineesinfo-icon cell (it was empty), because an adult shepherd had disappeared. The shepherd was from the Bedouin settlement near the village of A'atuf, the same village from which the children were kidnapped the night before (see a separate report). Daphne contacted the DCO (the woman soldier said that the commander of operations can answer us ... and we waited for her to arrive). Later, on the road, we were told that the shepherd went through the "wrong" gate and he was therefore punished, detained at the Hamra CP from 9 in the morning until 1 in the afternoon; then he was released. 
One of the soldiers came up to us and explained that our presence will cause them to close the CP. After the soldier received an explanation from Daphne that closing the CP was illegal, and after he got some reinforcement from his friends: "Brother, let them be, after all who are they to deserve your attention?" and "Don't pay any attention to her, she is nothing!"; we remained standing at the opening of the shed. "Gggggggggdamit, stop taking pictures!" and some more words of "encouragement' were heard from time to time from the soldiers.
When we finished our stay at the CP, we went on to meet the kidnapped children in the Bedouin tribe. (Daphne will fill in the details in a separate report since she is the one who was in contact throughout the night before, with the father, the army, the family ....).

14:36 - Tyasir CP
A soldier comes running up to our car and asks who we are. We explained. He returned to the CP.
We arrived at the CP and it closed because we were there. Daphne explained to the soldier that he is not allowed to close the CP, so he leaves it closed and goes to find out about the matter from his superiors. In the meantime, the soldiers volunteer advice: "Throw them out!" "Don't let them take pictures!" "What are they doing here?" and some more pearls of advice in a hostile tone.
One soldier calms them and tells them that they are being heard. The soldier who went to find out about the procedure received an order to open the CP and to ignore us. This was after he was asked if we are interfering, and how, and the soldier answered that we are not interfering but just standing there... Then the company commander arrived. As I understand it, he was afraid to leave his soldiers alone with us, because he feared that we might hear or see something that was not in keeping with the impression he was trying to make on us: "I am very humane", "I am acting according to procedure with you!"  "I have coffee in a Palestinian home at least once a week" - and could not understand that there was anything unfriendly about the fact that he, an army officer, arrives armed and uniformed to have a friendly coffee in the home of a Palestinian. "I greet the people with 'good morning'". "The IDF is the only army that takes care of the people that we injure, and that happens almost every day..." And when I (Lizzy) remarked on the horror of that sentence and I expressed surprise that he is proud of the fact that the IDF injures somebody every day, he claimed that I am "childish and petty ... taking up only a part of the sentence.."
There was a soldier there (who looked to me like the embodiment of sweet Zionist naivete) who was interested, asked questions, and really listened -- an orthodox fellow who asked and listened and wanted to know. In my opinion this was the first time that he heard things that contrasted with his education. It was an interesting conversation. Apart from him, all of them are impressed with their own importance and imprisoned in their own perceptions. After the company commander finished explaining his philosophy of humaneness and of carrying out commands and after we had enoughof our stay there, we parted peacefully.

16:30 Hamra CP
Two vehicles are waiting, one in each direction, and the soldiers are sitting inside the CP doing nothing. Only after ten minutes, when we approached the CP, the soldiers came out to the road and let the vehicles go through. In the meantime a queue of several vehicles grew on each side (in a temperature of 43 degrees!!!). I asked one of the soldiers why they didn't allow the vehicles to leave and were only letting the queue of those entering progress, he said that there was no possibility of having them move at the same time. But still, he did go with another soldier to the queue of those leaving. The detainee cell is empty.
The raising of shirts and the turn - it is possible to argue about whether is it necessary for pedestrians; but since I do not have clear verbal arguments, I would not get into a debate. But the absurdity of taking a driver out of his vehicle, and forcing him to raise his shirt and turn around --- cries to heaven!!! After all there could be dozens of bombs in his vehicle while they wait for him to raise his shirt and turn around.  And maybe the goal is humiliation and nothing more? like so many other things ...
A rented vehicle arrives at the CP (from an Israeli firm); in it there are Muslims with American passports and the soldier radios: "They have American passports; they are talking only English and behaving like I don't know what....." The answer he gets can be heard: "Tell him to get to the back of the queue!" The soldier asks his friend to call the doctor to come and translate (a Palestinian doctor who was there by chance). And then it turns out that they want to get to Jordan and simply took the wrong road. The doctor explains to them what roads to take. A father arrives with two children; they are from Hebron and therefore their car is not allowed to go through here. Only cars registered in the Jordan Valley are allowed to go through to the Valley.
So they stand and wait for the soldier to agree to let the car go through after all.
17:00 - We wanted to leave the CP, but then it seemed that the soldiers were closing it again and there were vehicles waiting while the soldiers were sitting inside the CP. We came back. The soldiers came out of the CP again and let the vehicles go through.
But now and most of the time, we are not there...