Hamra (Beqaot), Khirbet Makhul, Tayasir
We crossed the Bezek Checkpoint at 10:00.
A mobile home is parked on the slope beneath the settlement of Rotem, just south of the building that used to be called "the security coordinator's headquarters."
We went up to Tayasir. The checkpoint was not manned, and there was no sign of life in the watchtower. There were no soldiers in the training area. They have finished building the drainage pipes under the road. Some of the potholes have been fixed and others have not.
It is a very hot day.
Hamra Checkpoint has a new concrete wall.
A new mobile home at the settlements of Rotem and Bik'ot
The training areas are empty. A bus is parked south of Gochya Gate and a large group of soldiers is standing nearby, evidently for a rest stop. The soldiers looked tired and were loading very heavy sacks on the bus.
A jeep was parked further south, near the settlement of Bik'ot, and two shepherds were sitting in the field between the road and the earth embankment. Their herd of goats was busy grazing. We went down to where the shepherds were sitting. The soldiers were holding their ID cards. They are from A'atuf Tamun. They saw our Machsom Watch tags and asked us about Dafna. After 10 minutes their ID cards were returned and they were told not to cross the road in the direction of the settlement. The army jeep drove towards the settlement and a civilian vehicle appeared. One of the shepherds approached it and spoke with the driver.
Hamra Checkpoint, 11:00
The checkpoint has undergone several changes. The watchtower has been moved further east, closer to the junction. It is now surrounded by a concrete wall where the wire fence used to be. There is now another building, but only its roof is visible from the road. The checkpoint is still manned by reservists. Their flag has a picture of a winged lion with the slogan: "Perseverance, Professionalism, Initiative." One of the soldiers came up to us and greeted us, and went to take his friend's place in the tower. There was not much traffic. An Israeli truck drove up from Area A and crossed the checkpoint without stopping and continued northward. We have already said that this checkpoint and the soldiers who guard it are unnecessary.
We left at 11:25.
The flock is grazing in the pasture. We sat with Y.'s clever wife. She is grateful that the solar panels have been repaired. There is a lot of work to do: they begin milking at 03:00 until 05:00, and then there is the cheese and the children and laundry. Things are easier now that there is electricity. At 4 in the afternoon the goats have to be milked again.
We said goodbye and left at 12:15.
We crossed the Bezek Checkpoint at 12:30.