Hamra (Beqaot), Ma'ale Efrayim, Za'tara (Tapuah)

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Nina S. (photos) and Rina Tzur (reporting), translated by Tal H.

The tractors confiscated from two Jordan Valley inhabitants not yet returned!

On September 16, the tractor of Sliman Ka’abnah, a shepherd from Umm Jimal and father of 19 small children, was confiscated. Just one month previously, he freed the same tractor for 4000 NIS, a sum he could not afford and was partly raised by various people with goodwill,  among them Machsomwatch members. The tractor, his only vehicle, serves to transport water tanks for domestic use and for his livestock, hay for the animals, food for the family etc. He lives on a hill and the way to the main road is difficult.

When the tractor was confiscated he was told it would be returned to him only on condition that he leave the place for good, he, his family and his flock. So far the authorities have been deaf to his pleas. Less than a year ago they demolished the family’s encampment on a rainy, stormy winter day.

The second tractor was confiscated from Musa Darajmah, inhabitant of Tyassir, while he was unloading hay near the village of Aqaba, both villages situated in Area A which is supposedly under PA control.

On our way east on Road no. 5, we saw armed soldiers securing the junctions of Barkan, Ariel and Za’atara. We did not see them detaining Palestinian vehicles.


9:25 Za’atara-Tpuach Junction Checkcpoint
Armed soldiers at the positions of traffic direction coming from Huwarra.

Maale Efrayim Checkpoint
Both on our way to the Jordan Valley and back we see no soldiers.

We came to meet families whose dwelling encampment was demolished about two months ago. We came to A.’s family, about whom Daphne and Tzviya have reported extensively so we will nt repeat their story. At the moment they appear to have received aid from the EU and from a Norwegian Fund – according to the signs we found in their compound. They received two new tents and an outhouse, as well as food supplies.

The father of the family was not present. He had gone for medical treatment. He has asthma. His second wife is about to give birth. The son, working at Tomer settlement in their date production for a 60 NIS daily wage, was home, possibly because of the rain. The wages he receives are on a daily basis. He has no social privileges. A rainy day means the loss of income.

They receive a water quota from Mekorot (Israeli National Water Co.) according to the size of their family. A family with 4 members is allocated one and a half cubic meter every 3 days, and they pay the PA around 10 NIS per cubic meter.

Electricity is also supplied through the PA.

This is Area C, under full Israeli control, and the Israeli authorities are supposed to provide all of their civil needs and services. Still – it is the Palestinian Authority that supplies their water, electricity, education and health.

11:30 Hamra Checkpoint

Only one vehicle lane is open. Traffic is sparse. Passage through the checkpoint is swift.

On our way back, at 15:00 the traffic was livelier because of people returning home from their day of work. 3 cars waited on the eastern side and 6 cars on the western side. Only one directionat a time is opened. But even now passage was swift, with few delays.

13:45 Za’atara-Tapuach Junction Checkpoint (on our way back)

A Border Police jeep is parked next to the stop on the Nablus-bound lane, perpendicular to the road, and checks vehicles. Thus traffic is at a halt for several cars. We stopped to observe what would happen, and saw that the soldiers let the cars proceed towards Nablus with hardly any delay, and the ‘traffic-jam’ vanished.

We also visited families in Halat Makhoul and Bissan and her family in En Al Hilwa.