We were already heading home. The three of us wanted to get home early. Daphne wanted to make it in time for a conference in Jaffa, Yifat wanted to stop by her house before she went to visit Tristan at the hospital, and I wanted to make it in time for my Yoga lesson.
We drove today to the Jordan Rift Valley. Tayasir checkpoint and Hamra checkpoint, between the settlement Ro’i and the settlement Beka’ot (I promise a post on it in a few days). On our way back, at 4:30pm, we saw them, at the Efrayim passge ,before the turn.
7 young men (around the ages of 18-20) handcuffed. They’re from Jericho. You can tell they’re not accustomed to the checkpoints, as the villagers are.
One of them is handcuffed to a pole at the “detainees’ pavilion“.
The soldiers say they were “misbehaving”. They don’t explain how. Shortly after we arrive, the soldiers remember to offer them water. The young man with a free hand gets the bottle. The others are told to approach him “wahad-wahad” (one by one), he will hold the bottle for them, and they will drink. One approaches, another two also come near. The guy with the free hand is able to reach his pocket, pull out a cigarette and light it for the guy next to him. The soldiers don’t like that. The officer approaches, and with one swift and cruel gesture tightens the cuff to the pole.
The cuffs on the hands of one of them is extremely tight.
I went to the officer of the checkpoint and explained to him that the young man’s arm was very purple. He agreed to loosen the cuff a little. The guy’s face twisted with pain as the soldiers twisted his arm to loosen the cuff a little.
Shortly after the soldiers take the cuffs off of everyone.
Here are their arms after four hours (they were detained from 1pm):
After that we waited for the police to come. And it was impossible not to notice how unnecessary the cuffs were. For they were sitting there, just as they were beforehand, unable to go anywhere without their IDs. And after the police arrived, and the policemen spoke with one of the young men for a few minutes, we waited for another half an hour, until their IDs were returned to them, and they were allowed to go on. By then it was 6pm.
All this was a pedagogical measure for anyone who dares to behave unkindly at the checkpoint.