Hamra, Ma'ale Efrayim, Tayasir, Sun 10.1.10, Afternoon

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Daphna B, Rachel A (reporting)
Seriously? Does this make us safer?

The soldiers say that today there are no restrictions on entry to the valley from the West Bank, and we saw taxis and private cars passing from side to side (Israelis and foreigners are not allowed to cross from the valley to the West Bank at Hamra and Tayasir Checkpoints.

Maalei Ephraim Checkpoint

Open for transit. There were no vehicles apart from us so we drove on.
On the way back, there was a Palestinian resident of the West Bank who wanted to cross to the valley but they would not let him. He was told to go via Hamra Checkpoint, which would add a few kilometres. He said that in the morning they let him pass, but not in the afternoon. Daphna phoned the DCO but it didn’t help. They repeated the same instruction.

At Farus Beit Dajan we met a family living at the edge of the village, next to a clinic now being built from mud and straw. In answer to a question, we were told that they get electricity from five in the afternoon until nine at night.

Hamra Checkpoint
According to a soldier, the road is open to cars in both directions, with random checks. Cars were crossing quickly. The passengers get out for personal checks, and return to the cars waiting after passing the checkpoint. Pedestriand are being checked methodically, belts, raised shirts, bags...

Gucia Gate
Supposed to open at 15:00 for half an hour, At 15:15, when we returned, the gate was closed and there were no people.

Ein el-Hilwe
We met the head of the council, a Palestinian Authority functionary responsible for 30 encampments of 250 souls. He was with a veterinarian from Jenin, who comes once a month to examine sheep, goats, etc. He said that, since 21.5.09, when demolition orders were handed out and firing zone signs erected, he has been forbidden to go more than 100 metres from the road. (The Palestinian Authority placed an Israeli lawyer at the disposal of the residents to deal with the demolition orders, but some of the residents are afraid of legal confrontations with the occupier.)

Tayasir Checkpoint
"Soldiers on one big chesss board," a soldier answers our questions.
Two soldiers checks vehicles and two more examine pedestrians. There are more in the pillbox.

The soldiers say they are bored. There is little traffic in the noon hours. Passengers are dropped to cross on foot, each being called on a megaphone. All are allowed to pass (apart from Israelis and foreigners).

On the way back we stop at the Hadidia family who tell us about the events of the last week. The road to them was blocked by an earth mound. One of the shepherds (now sitting with us) was arrested two days ago when out with the flock. He was handcuffed and blindfolded, and taken to detention. There he was beaten and held for a few hours at night. Meanwhile the flock dispersed. In the end he was released. He was given no reason for the arrest. They don’t believe in submitting complaints... It is as though they accept this happening on a periodic basis. According to them there is in each settlement an evil person responsible for the attacks on them. The name is known but there is nothing to do...

16:30 we went home.