Hamra (Beqaot), Khirbet Makhul, Tayasir
10:25 – 13:00
9:30 Bezeq Checkpoint (entry from Israel proper into the occupied Palestinian Jordan Valley) – no guard at the road post.
Rotem settler-colony: at the upper “outpost”, south of the settler-colony, nothing new. The place more organized and suited for residence now, or for hosting guests. South east of the compound an area has probably been prepared as a car park. The ragged flag of the “New Ha-Shomer”* has been replaced. Outside the compound, to the north, is a structure that serves as a storehouse perhaps, or for residence. In the past it was neglected and filled with rubbish. Now it looks neat, and outside it – the basis for a wooden pergola. We met two young people there. Except for “hello” no words were exchanged.
Uphill to Tyassir Checkpoint and from there to Al Aqaba village: traffic on the road is scant. Tyassir Checkpoint is unmanned. The army base looks deserted. The road post is wide open.
At Al Aqaba, village head Haj Sami was busy meeting representatives of the PA and of the UN. We spoke with the person in charge of the tea plant (I apologize for forgetting his name). He told us that soldier have been combing the area, lately they had not entered the village itself but they did enter homes in Tyassir village at nighttime after the holiday, and a helicopter was seen hovering above.
The village children are already on school holiday. He told us about the activities that are planned for them.
Allon Road: the training areas are empty. The dirt barrier is in its place…
At Hamra Checkpoint we saw a single soldier inside the compound. The old checkpoint was empty, except for a civilian Israeli vehicle parked there.
Khalat Makhoul: the children are on their summer vacation. A new baby girl was born to B.’s family. He himself suffers back pains. A.’s wife asked about a TV set for theirs is ruined, and one of I.’s children asked for a football.
Bezeq Checkpoint (13:00): the guard read our Machsomwatch tag, said “Oh…” and opened the barrier for us.