Hamra, Ma'ale Efrayim, Tayasir, Tue 31.3.09, Afternoon

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Nur B, Nurit Y (photographing), Riba B, Daphna B (reporting)
12:20 Hamra Checkpoint
Six cars from east to west. The first driver in line says that he has already been waiting half an hour, The soldiers are presently checking cars from west to east and the check is more thorough than entry into the West Bank. When we arrive the soldiers begin to check in both directions, and the line vanishes. A few cars passing to the West Bank drop their passengers while their IDs are inspected. That takes about 15 minutes, while no cars are passed and a line again forms, which disappears when they pass a few without any check.
13:15 Tayasir Checkpoint
No lines and passage is fast. The soldiers don’t bother with us, but call their company commander, H. He arrives and asks why he doesn’t find Tayasir reports on our web page. We explained to him how to find them.
I have recently received reports about dogs roaming the area of the checkpoint, and have asked the DCO to deal with it since three people have been bitten.. One of them, a child, was hospitalised. It must be assumed that these are the army’s dogs. The company commander said he has heard of it, and would check. We contend that the dogs belong to no one and the council is about to round up stray animals (including sheep and cows), among other reasons because they endanger drivers. The Palestinians of course are not warned, and we assume that we will soon receive calls about missing sheep, cows and donkeys from their owners.
H. displays impressive knowhow about the family structures in the area, including their origins and status – also the problems of each particular family. When Bedouin children come to cross at the checkpoint, he orders the soldiers not to give them food, claiming that the children’s father had so requested. Regarding the Hadidia family, he claims that they are stealing pipe parts from the hothouses belonging to Roi settlement. (He is a friend of Rabbi Shatz.)

Passengers are not taken out of cars coming from the east, but from the west the passengers cross the checkpoint on foot. The vehicle checks are methodical, but don’t take more than five minutes. When I protest about the value of the driver’s pirouette – while he raises his shirt, the car might contain 10 hidden rifles or half a ton of explosives – the company commander agrees with me but says that the issue is "orders" and not everyone is told to lift his shirt. They don’t insist with old people or children. A 14 year old could already be a terrorist. They caught 14 year olds at Huwarra... And the Palestinians perform the humiliating dance without being told, out of fear of annoying the soldiers.

A bus comes from the direction of the valley. Workers returning from a day’s labour (which has began at 3 am). Most of them are dozing on rickety benches. The soldiers order the driver to turn his engine off (later he will have difficulty starting the ramshackle bus on the slope up to the checkpoint). A soldier boards while another checks IDs outside. Two ID cards look doubtful. The soldiers phone to check, and get an immediate answer – the bus is released. So why take IDs to check when it always takes hours? It appears there are soldiers who delay the response as much as they want, and that’s why it normally takes so long.
Those pasing through the checkpoint again mention the dogs, saying that they are on the Palestinian side of the checkpoint.
15:05-15:20 Gochya Gate (Facing Roi)
No soldiers, no Palestinians. Nor did we see soldiers or tractors on the way. I phone the DCO to say that the soldiers have not arrived, since they are in any case supposed to keep the gate open until 15:30.
15:35 Hamra Checkpoint
When we arrive, seven cars in line from the east, and again they are processing vehicles from the west. In our presence, the soldiers begin to process both directions.
Two vehicles – a private car and a truck – coming from the West Bank and registered to West Bank residents are sent back.
16:15Maale Ephraim
A car delayed on the side, its passengers standing alongside the road. We stopped by them and, wuithin five minutes their IDs are returned (one by one, of course).
They move on in the direction of the West Bank.