Hamra, Ma'ale Efrayim, Tayasir, Tue 23.2.10, Afternoon

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Ruti H., Vivi T., Aya K., and Dafna B., (Reporting)

Translation: Bracha B.A.

11:30 Maaleh Ephraim Checkpoint
The checkpoint is manned by two soldiers in the booth, but there are no Palestinians at this hour.

11:50 Hamra Checkpoint
There are not a lot of cars at this hour and the soldiers are quiet.  People pass through very quickly. Cars drop people off 50 meters west of the checkpoint and people wait 50 meters to the east.  The men emerge with their belts in their hands.  The booth that soldiers were sitting in fore bhas been replaced by a sealed room and the soldiers sit behind a glass window. Cars going in the direction of Nablus are not checked, but pedestrians passing through have to walk through the checkpoint on the road in the sun. A large area north of the checkpoint has been fenced off and the land has been leveled.  During the last two weeks the soldiers have discovered explosives almost every day.  Is it any wonder?  For the past two years no explosives were discovered and now they find them every day.  This seems rather unlikely since it is relatively easy to bypass the checkpoint through the open areas surrounding it.  One of the Palestinians we know explains that the exaggerated importance of this checkpoint to security is used to justify the intense construction that is going on here that will infringe upon the Palestinians' lives.  Perhaps they will even build a terminal here.

12:40 – Tayasir Checkpoint
There is very little traffic.  The same soldier who sent an elderly woman home last week sent a young man back who had forgotten his certificate at home.  All this for the sake of keeping things in order, of course. At 13:30 the children arrive, running happily, but the commanding officer stops them and makes them go through one by one – for the sake of keeping things in order.  They pass by the soldiers with suspicious looks until they are at a safe distance.  Most of the children greet us happily.  Cars that do not have registration of ownership of people in the valley are sent back.

15:00 – Gochia Gate
No Palestinians arrived and consequently no soldiers arrived either.
The road to Hadadya is still blocked by a mound of earth, forcing people to drive around the settlement of Roi.  Instead of driving five minutes they how have to drive 20 – a substantial expense for tractor fuel.

16:30 – Hamra Checkpoint
There are no lines in either direction.  There is a line of five cars from the direction of Nablus. Cars are being checked in only one direction.  We went to see a clinic that is built out of mud bricks and we were received as guests by a family who lived in a house that was built out of mud.  We listened to the story of the family who explained that in 2006 and 2007 all the houses on their land were destroyed except for one house that was built before 1967.   Since it is impossible to receive a permit to build in area C under Israeli jurisdiction, seven of the nine members of the family lave left to live in the West Bank because they have nowhere to live.  The land, however, is theirs and they have a "Kushan" (a certificate of registration)!