Hamra, Tayasir, Za'tara (Tapuah), Wed 30.12.09, Afternoon

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Daphna B, Yifat D (reporting)
Seriously? Does this make us safer?

Translating: Louis W.

10:40 – a woman soldier is training a dog on the parking lot at Zaatra. She’s using it to check cars and packages of people who want to pass through the checkpoint.

11:28 Gucia Checkpoint
Three weeks ago people from the area opened up a path between the mounds of earth that the army raised around the locked gate. This week we saw that the army has again blocked the opening.

Along the road leading to Tayasir Checkpoint, on the hills, the army is training in firearms and camping...

12:45 Tayasir Checkpoint
"Come," the soldier shouts, somewhat indifferently, to a woman with a babyinfo-icon.
He is chatting with another soldier while the man whose ID is being checked waits anxiously for a sign.

"Raise your shirt," another calls to a youngster who wants to pass, and then "scram, scram!"
In the background constant gunfire from the hills. A man opens his bag in front of the soldier: "Take it, take it out," he is told.
"What coat is that. A police jacket?" a soldier leaning on the fence intervenes.
"They have everything, brother, everything you want..."
"Then take from them!"

Mahdi comes with us in the car. He says that the shepherd Muhammad’s father, who is an amputee, can’t work. Fifteen years ago, he took the sheep on to a field where the army had placed mines. "There was a sign," Mahdi says, "but he cannot read."

14:55 Hamra Checkpoint
The soldier smiles as he examines people. He exchanges glances with another soldier standing next to him – private jokes. Occasionally the other soldier doesn’t stand there, and he is alone. The Palestinian being checked is the enigma. The soldier draws out a monotonous conversation, asking a lot of questions that the man has to answer. Finally he waves a hand aggressively: "Yalla, scram!"
He tells another man "back off, remove your shoes. You know why I told you to remove your shoes? Because of her," he indicates me with a laugh.

The youngster puts his shoes on and comes to talk to me. He says that they are a group going to Jordan, and they closed the other checkpoint, and they are afraid of being late because of the long line (15 cars being checked slowly and thoroughly), and the Allenby Bridge will close, so they can’t get through today. By chance there are two DCO officers at the checkpoint, and Dapna talks to one of them. For reasons known only to him, the officer decides to respond to the request. The youngster goes back to call a taxi, but the officer has moved on and the soldier shouts and won’t let him pass. Again we call the officer, and again he agrees and moves off, and the soldier shouts more violently at the youngster not to approach.

"Speak Hebrew," a soldier screams at another Palestinian...