Hamra, Ma'ale Efrayim, Sat 22.5.10, Morning

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Yif’at D., Dafna B.; David N. – guest
Translator:  Charles K.

In addition observing the Hamra checkpoint, we joined people who were laying a water pipe in the Jiftlik to connect homes that weren’t connected to the water supply yet, and we visited the tent of a Bedouin family whose camel had been shot the previous evening. 8:00  Ma’aleh Efraim
Three bored soldiers seated on the concrete barriers, waiting for clients.  No one else around.

8:45  Hamra checkpoint
Not much traffic, two cars from the east and one coming from Nablus. We stood a little way off and watched for about 10 minutes.  No cars went through.  When we came closer they started letting them through. Those coming through from the west toward the Jordan Valley are still coming out holding their belts in their hands after being inspected and waiting in the sun for the vehicles.  We drove to El Parsya – the tiny locality in the northern West Bank that twice has been disconnected from its water source (cf. report dated 11.5.10).  The Jordan Valley Solidarity organization, together with residents of El Parsya, themselves laid a water pipe to the village and now the reservoir is filled.  The water comes from Ein el Bide, three kilometers away.  A man named Fuqha , from Ein el Bide, donates the water out of the allocation he receives from Mekorot, which has taken over his water after shutting down his well in 1967.  He farms only in the winter; in the summer his fields are desolate and he only irrigates his date trees and vines.  That’s how he’s able to save some of his allocation and donate it to others.  The inhabitants of El Parsya, for their part, intend to give water to ten Bedouin encampments scattered around near them.

Ein el Hillwa
The killing of the camel (according to an eyewitness, M., the shepherd whom we’ve known since he was a boy):  Yesterday afternoon, about 16:30, three soldiers showed up at the Bedouin encampment at Ein el Hillwa.  At least two of them were religious (with sidelocks and beards).  One stayed to watch the main road (coming from the
Tayasir checkpoint, and his two companions entered the tent of our old friend Muhammad’s father.  Muhammad’s father is handicapped, his leg blown off by a mine that the IDF had left in the area, and has difficulty getting around because of his weight.  One of the soldiers cocked his weapon and pointed it at Muhammad’s father.  Out of fear, and perhaps because of his usual hospitality, the father offered them tea.  They de4clined, left the tent, and one of the soldiers shot the camel belonging to his neighbor, Kabana.  He fired another shot, it isn’t clear where, and the Bedouin immediately went to insure that any of the children running around hadn’t been hit – when a stranger shows up they are curious and surround him.  Then the soldiers ran off.  The camel was 15 years old (camels live, on average, 35 years), and grew up with Raheil’s son.  The son is heartbroken, and the father has been robbed of his only camel, worth NIS 10,000.  They notified the army and the police, who came and began investigating.

In the burning afternoon hours (39 degrees Celsius, 102 Fahrenheit) we helped lay a water pipe in the Jiftlik, to bring water to a few of the thousands of homes in the Jordan Valley that don’t have water.

16:00  Hamra checkpoint
One car waiting on each side, but during the ten minutes we were there no car passed through.  One of the people standing in the terrible heat, waiting for the car on the western side of the checkpoint, said that he’s been waiting an hour and no car comes through.  When we drew near the soldiers, they began letting cars through.We had given a ride to two people going to Ein el Bide, in the northern West Bank.  We brought them to the Hamra checkpoint, where there’s a crossroads (east-west and north-south).  And there they stood, in 39 degree heat, looking pretty discouraged.  There’s hardly any Palestinian traffic going north, and certainly not taxis (jitneys or ordinary cabs), and in this heat there’s no traffic in any direction.

16:45  Ma’aleh Efraim checkpoint
Whenever we’ve passed here recently in the afternoon the checkpoint wasn’t manned.  There were soldiers, but not at the checkpoint itself but in the adjoining observation tower.  Today the checkpoint is manned by three soldiers.