Beit Furik, Hamra, Huwwara, Ma'ale Efrayim, Za'tara (Tapuah), Sun 16.5.10, Afternoon

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Judit B. and Tal H. (reporting) And our two guests from the US

Translation: Tal H.

This shift took place out of our usual schedule and not in our usual format:We combined it in a special tour we conducted (privately financed transportation) for a visiting couple from the US, friends with close and deep ties to Israel who have not been here for the past decade and very much wanted to be updated – which they were, indeed. The special tour focused especially on the Jordan Valley, with the help of Palestinian activists to witness the desperate contrast of water usage by the green settlements with their hothouses and prosperous fruit groves side by side with their Palestinian neighbors living in miserable plastic and tin shanties, kids playing out in the baking sun of the area, to see the fresh mud and stone construction of houses in hamlets demolished time and again by the occupation authorities just as in the unrecognized beduin villages of the Negev, naturally under the infamous pretexts of the Area C formalities, understanding through seeing the spread of the various zones, that have already been annexed de-facto between the road and the river – that whole settler strip, fertile and tempting, into which the Palestinians are no longer welcomed, and so forth. We did not actually get to hold a normal MW vigil at the Jordan Valley checkpoints: our guests are elderly and not used to this climate and the day was long and strenuous. Still, they got a very precise idea of what the restrictions are, and even 'enjoyed' a fleeting check by an Israeli civilian police patrol that took the trouble to check us out when they saw us parked at some junction, including looking up my ID on their computer once they spied my MW tag.We got a glimpse of Hamra Checkpoint from above, while we visited with the B. family,surrounded and suffocated by the checkpoint, an army base, and three Jewish settlements, the family whose houses are repeatedly demolished, who has to purchase water and power at exhorbitant prices elsewhere while the grid passes right next door, whose livestock are welcome to graze… practically inside its home. Everything else is out of bounds.  Za'tara Junction checkpoint 12:45

Freely moving traffic, no detaineesinfo-icon. We did see dog trainers and their proteges hanging out in the checkpoint compound.

 Beit Furik Checkpoint 13:00

 No soldiers nor checks observed.

 Huwwara Checkpoint 13:15

We were not bothered by the soldiers, nor did we see any checks during our brief presence on the spot.