Gochya, Hamra (Beqaot), Jordan Valley

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Annelien K. (photos), Rina T. (report)
בקעת הירדן: מאמץ של שני אחים
Palestinian Jordan Valley: the effort of two brothers.
Annelien Kish
שער גוכיה: משאית שעוכבה שעתיים וחצי בחשד שווא, משוחררת
Gokhia Gate: A truck, detained for two and a half hours on false suspicions, is released.
Annelien Kish


We passed by on the Allon Road at 13:00, and saw a rather rickety truck parked to the west of Gokhia Gate, locked for the past two years. Facing the truck, on the east side of the locked gate, was an army jeep with two women- and two men-soldiers. The two women soldiers approached us. The commander, a sergeant, said they passed by on the road and saw the truck, and immediately noticed that the driver was suspect.

Why suspect? First of all, “they” know that the gate is locked, so why go there? Second, a while ago, “they” sawed off the iron bar blocking the track and stole it. The soldiers ordered the driver outside and he sat on the ground near his vehicle, “in the shade”. In the cabin were a woman and a child, who kept peeking impatiently out the window, perhaps saying something to his dad. The sergeant spoke with her superior on the phone. We realized the incident had begun two hours earlier. She asked her superior whether we were allowed to speak with the Palestinian driver. We heard the answer: “Get rid of them.” She never heard of MachsomWatch, but he must have.

We were not interested in a confrontation, which would only have made matters worse for the driver. We got into our car and called the DCO operations center. We were told there that the initiative for the detention had been of the team on site, namely the woman sergeant, fearing the driver would constitute a security risk. The operations center was checking whether he had any police or Shabak record, and if he hadn’t, they would release him.

He was released after 25 minutes.

I thought about that sergeant who seemed as young as my grandchildren, and the second woman soldier, who was even a bit more humane (she mentioned the shade and the driver was given water, and the sergeant silenced her) – two normative young women, who are capable of suspecting a man who arrives at a locked gate with his wife and young son, that he intends to do something dangerous? In the middle of the day? Makes absolutely no sense. Why, because he’s an Arab? And an Arab can’t just be a person, but must immediately be identified as a terrorist. Is this the kind of education the soldiers are getting in the Israeli army?

Hamra checkpoint at 10:30 a.m.

Soldiers inspecting vehicles in both directions. On our way back at around 13:30, crossing was open.

We visited families at Samra, Khalat Makhoul and En Al Hilwa. We brought with us a babyinfo-icon crib, sent by Rachel Afek to Rima at Khalat Makhoul, who’s about to give birth any day now.