Hamra, Tayasir, Tue 20.7.10, Afternoon
Translated by Tal H.
Summary: new house demolitions (second time in two weeks) at Al Farsiyyah.
“It’s okay, it’s authorized”.
11 a.m. – Ma’ale Efrayim Checkpoint – one soldiers at the post on the road.
On our way, between the Jewish settlements Gitit and Mechora, developments have been apparent every week – settlers took over an abandoned hothouse about half a year ago, fenced it in, and turned it into their tractor maintenance shed. All the fields around are now tended by the settlers (naturally the workers on the job are Palestinian) and how can we know that the fields belong to Jews? because Palestinians do not sow in this area in the summer, there is no water for this! Only the Jews have plenty of water for irrigation throughout the hot season. The question remains whose land this is, that Jews have suddenly began to tend them. They are not even close to any of the settlements.
Two weeks ago we reported that this large encampments has received demolition orders, but people left it even earlier. Not for good – all the tents, animal sheds and even the dogs remained, as if the owners had merely left to attend some wedding and would be back shortly. On July 19th, at 7 a.m., the bulldozers came with the army jeeps, including the army’s agents – officials of the civil administration (nothing civil about this arm of the army in charge of Palestinians’ affairs). They demolished 71 structures – mainly tents, but also 7 ovens, toilets, kitchens, animal sheds and morel 21 families – 107 persons including 52 children, have remained homeless. Even if they were not on the spot at the time, this is their home. They have not budged from it for the past 35 years. Two weeks ago they left because they could no longer carry on without water and couldn’t afford transporting water from far away. The ground is privately owned by a Tubas resident from whom they lease it. Several months ago the army posted “firing zone” signs as if to
warn them of what is about to transpire. As throughout the Jordan Valley. Anything that is Palestinian immediately becomes a firing zone.
The soldiers are polite and quiet. Nothing hostile or openly violent about them. Reservists, naturally. The profanity that was spelled out in Russian with stones along the side of the lane has been cleared and instead the battalion’s name is back in place. Still, this is a checkpoint – Palestinians wait (even if not for long) to be summoned on foor by the soldier calling in for inspection one by one.
As in Tyassir, the soldiers here are friendly reservists who offer us water and tell us that if we’re up to a political argument, they’re game. We passed. 6 male soldiers, 3 women soldiers (regulars) – very crowded at the checkpoint. However friendly, they do not begin to see the harassment constituted by their mere presence in the heart of Palestinian territory, perhaps they do not even realize that this is where they actually are. They try to make Yifat move away from her observation point, but she refuses to be budged. There is no checking of the travelers bound for Nablus, while those coming from Nablus are made to disembark, walk in the searing heat all the way to the sunny waiting post, while the shaded area originally built for waiting Palestinians is now taken up by the soldiers’ water tank, lest it heat up. Today is especially hot and this trek weighs heavy on the Palestinians – their brow glistens with swat and they move slowly.
A Civil Administration jeep with two officers arrive to speak to us. They ask us what we think of the checkpoint and how are things in general. We asked them about the demolitions at Al Farsiyyah. M. tells us reassuringly, “Oh, that. It’s alright. It was authorized”. !! He is absolutely fine with the fact that 52 children have been left homeless. Not a shadow of a conscience pang. It’s alright. It’s authorized.
I felt unwell because of the horrendous heat and the difficult sights, and we returned earlier than usual.