Jordan Valley: surrounded by the ugly occupation while the music combine people with joy and pleasure
Synopsis: Occupation and music; arrest of a Palestinian Jordan Valley resident as an illegal alien; Tyassir Checkpoint.
We crossed Hamra Checkpoint and drove 5 kilometers westwards, towards Nablus, to Nasariya. We received a report that settler-colonists from Hamra settler-colony had taken over Palestinian-owned land there. Above the area, cellular antennae are now seen. We only located the spot, will return later on to check out the area and learn whether this settler-colony is sending greedy fingers towards the city of Nablus.
The TAO group from Japan whom we met a year ago is in Israel again, on its Earth Caravan trip. On Monday we drove to Jerusalem and participated in their singing and dancing ceremony marking Hiroshima Day – noting the 73rd anniversary of the nuclear bombing of the city.
Today they ventured out to the Palestinian Jordan Valley, guided by Guy Hirschfeld of Taayush. We met them at Bourhan’s for lunch. One of them, from Austria, brought along a Tam Tam drum and began to play it, and right away Bourhan sat down to join. Then Bourhan took out a flute and played wonderfully. There was magic in the air. At the finish everyone sang together “Free free Palestine”. Some of the volunteers danced and finally hugged. Sounds somewhat naïve? New-age-like? Perhaps. But the group has also been carrying important activity for the Palestinians during its stay here.
We took leave of the group (including not only Japanese members – there were also Canadians, Austrians, Spaniards) and went to meet our friend D. Today he was detained for 4 hours on the Jordan Valley road. He is blacklisted. We don’t know why. He has never committed a felony or violation, neither he nor any of his family members. Soldiers detained him around noon since they decided that the Palestinian Jordan Valley has been annexed by Israel, and he is prevented from entering Israeli territory. So inside his home he is actually an illegal alien!...
On the road between Tyassir checkpoint and the village of Tyassir 2 army bulldozers are seen at the entrance to a dirt track that has just been opened, apparently for army maneuvers.
The inhabitants of Yarza have received temporary eviction notices for the nights of August 6, 9 and 14. This means that on every one of these dates they must evacuate their homes from 4 p.m. until 6 a.m. the next morning! Where will they go with their children and elderly? We visited F. a day after the eviction and he said they had sat on the side of the main road the whole night. He has five sons and three daughters, most of them married and not living with him. He is an elderly man who has been forced to spend the night at the roadside. F. received us warmly, showed us his tent, and hosted us in his ‘God’s little acre’ – right across from Aqaba village, above Tyassir Checkpoint, while a pleasant breeze blew. He grows cows and sheep and on two plots – olive trees as well. He is a farmer, he emphasized, not a Bedouin. He brought out a Rabab (violin-like single-stringed musical instrument) which he built by himself out of an oil can, the leg of a bed and some horsetail hair. When he played for us, second time that day, we discovered the charming beauty of music’s effect, which we had until now not met on our friendly visits.
6:45 p.m. – on our way home we had a surprise: Tyassir Checkpoint which we are so accustomed to cross without batting an eyelash was manned! Or rather womanned. Four women soldiers were there, and a short waiting line that stretched in both directions. Spikes were laid on the road and every car was inspected for about five minutes. Waiting time, then, was about 10 minutes while everyone was already eager to get home. We stood at the end of the line. When we approached we saw that the two inspecting soldiers – those with the authority and judgment – were Ashkenazi women, while on both sides of the checkpoint two Ethiopian women soldiers were doing guard-duty.
After some ID checks and trivial questions (Where are you from? Where in Tel Aviv?) we crossed with no problems.
7:15 p.m.: Hamra Checkpoint was not manned.