גוכיה, זעתרה (צומת תפוח), חמרה (בקעות), תיאסיר
10:00 Za’atara checkpoint
Shelters of camouflage netting have been erected at various road junctions to provide shade – and here too, at the road toward the Jordan Valley and the one to Tel Aviv. The positions aren’t manned. A Border Police jeep is parked at the junction to Jerusalem, next to the bus stop, its door open. Two soldiers stand next to it, joking with those in the jeep. They didn’t stop anyone while we were there. There’s a canopied hitchhiking station ten meters from the bus stop; settlers and Palestinians wait there.
10:35 Hamra checkpoint
The checkpoint commander arrives. Who are you? He hasn’t heard of Machsom Watch, gets a brief explanation and leaves immediately. He sends a soldier to tell us we must leave right away. We told him we’ve been standing at checkpoints for more than ten years. He threatened to call someone. Because the sparse traffic flowed normally we stayed five minutes longer than we’d planned, and then continued on our way. It’s been a long time since something like this happened. We try not to avoid confrontations with soldiers.
Closed. A new obstacle to vehicles and tractors, ditches and piles of earth, was added recently on the track – the “Burma Road” - serving as a detour around the gate (which has been closed for a year). We happened to see a tractor pulling a utility trailer maneuvering in a complicated, risky manner to bypass the obstacle. When unbearable decrees are imposed on people they’ll always seek ways to avoid them. Nor is there any rational reason for this gate, other than to make more difficult the lives of those living on both sides.
12:30 Tayasir checkpoint
Very little traffic. Soldiers here offer us cold water.
15:45 Za’tara checkpoint
On the north side of the plaza (coming from Huwwara) Border Police soldiers at the checkpoint have detained a car carrying three young men. They searched it carefully. We see the passengers returning everything to the trunk. One is taken to a small metal building under the guard tower on the plaza. The Border Police soldier who came over to us said it’s a “routine” body search which will be completed in a few minutes. The young man did emerge a few minutes later holding his belt, put his shoes back on and returned to the car. Their documents were returned and they drove off.
Today we spent most of the time arranging the “beach day” for the mothers and children in August. They’ll come from Makhul and Al Malih, communities which have suffered repeatedly in recent years from demolition of their encampments.