Hamra, Tayasir, Za'tara (Tapuah), Tue 20.1.09, Afternoon

Observers: 
Chana A, Daphna B, Yifat D (reporting)
20/01/2009
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Afternoon
 

11:00 "Shaar Shomron" Checkpoint
Only blue ID holders pass here – in other words, Israeli citizens. The army and police help each other in sorting through entrants. Those of Arab appearance are asked to show Ids and pass a check of content of their cars. We note an army jeep standing on the side of the road, between A-Zawaya and Meshia villages. Soldiers standing next to it. We stop behind the jeep to clarify what they are doing. We assume that they are waiting to trap work seekers who, despite the dangers, continue to surreptitiously enter the lit part of Israel/Palestine to earn a livelihood. A soldier approaches us and says it is part of an exercise, then says that they are there to check that the traffic flows as it should.

12:03 Zaatra-Tapuah Checkpoint

Twenty two cars in line for check from the direction of Ariel. People standing outside the cars. Two women standing next to the soldiers. One forgot at home her ID issued by the Military Government. The soldiers do not agree to her going to fetch it, and the older woman cannot go on alone. After we arrive, and because we are Jews, they agree that the older woman can wait while the younger one goes.


Meanwhile, from the direction of Huwwara we notice soldiers forcing Palestinians to expose their abdomen and raise both trouser legs. Their cars is being checked very thoroughly. Then they check a bus. They try to drive us off. A soldier boards the bus and shouts "Where are you from?" The driver answers that everyone is from Ramallah. The soldier turns to him angrily: "Did I ask you:? Did I ask you? Did I ask you?"


We informed Noi at the Humanitarian Centre and Masha at the DCO, that there are long lines at the checkpoint, and the checks are taking longer than usual. The soldiers’ weapons are pointed directly at people in the cars during the check.


12:12 Hamra Checkpoint

Six cars waiting in one direction, nine in the other. The soldiers compel the drivers to alight, expose their abdomens and pirouette. Two workers are repairing a public address system. People emerge from the check with belts and IDs in hand. The IDs are slid through a crack in the plastic sheet that protects the soldiers from the Palestinians. The entire valley is strewn with army camps.


13:50 Tayasir Checkpoint
The soldiers make no effort to harass the Palestinians. They carry out the usual humiliating process leisurely: body check, belongings, and the Palestinian innocence by a list of questions. Children, women, men, old people. We find there a plastic-coated  rifle bullet.

14:54 Iron Gate Facing Roi

Opens four times a week. The crossing is very much needed by the Bedouin tribes in the area. Two tractors and eight men waiting by the checkpoint. At 15:10 we phone to ask why the soldiers aren’t arriving. At 15:17 they arrive and meticulously check the people and cargo on the tractor wagons. These are people coming from their fields, or from the nearby town on their way to their encampment, riding on tractors. At some distance from the checkpoint an encampment can be seen at the foot of a hill. All the time we are there we can hear shots. A regular noise in the valley, where almost every unbuilt area is a firing zone. One of the companies ascends the hill above the camp and starts shooting games while endangering the inhabitants. At 15:43 the soldiers close the checkpoint and leave.


16:14 Maale Ephraim
A car waiting on the side. The driver with a small child. He is from Kuse on one side of the checkpoint, his wife from Phasael on the other. He is considered resident in one area, she in another. So they can never bring her from her parents’ home in the car. The soldier says: "These are the rules, and rules are made so there should be order." The Centre responds: "Very sorry, the contention is unacceptable."