'Azzun, 'Azzun 'Atma, Habla, Mon 21.6.10, Afternoon

Petahya A., Barham – a guest from England and Riva B. (reporting), Translator: Charles K.

15:20  Azzun Atma.  A very hot day.  Few people crossing at this hour.  One of the soldiers asks us whether we care only about what happens to the Palestinians but not what happens to the soldiers.  That was an invitation to a conversation, and we had one.  We also drove through Elkana to show the guest what a settlement looks like, and the solitary house from Maskha.
16:15  Kafr Hares:  A number of cars at the entrance to the village, most of them serving to provide rides to people.  It’s impossible to ignore the huge observation tower casting its shadow over the entire village (and apparently over much more).  The people we spoke with said that they can see all of us on the computer in the tower talking to each other.  There’s a yellow gate, but it’s open, and we’re told it’s open 24 hours a day.  On the other hand, the army and the Border Police enter the village whenever they feel like it at any hour of the day and night.  We agreed to give a woman a ride to Azzun.
16:35  Kafr Seir.  L., the young woman to whom we gave a ride, speaks English well, works for an international humanitarian organization that primarily assists farmers.  She invited us to have something to drink at her home in Seir.  We agreed to stop briefly.  Seir is a small village (only 500 inhabitants) through which we passed on a trip with Daliah and Zvia.  The woman is the daughter of the school principal the village head.  It was an unusual break in our usual Machsom Watch routine.  An unnaturally peaceful village, without settlements surrounding it – because all the inhabitants refused to sell land, our hostess explained as we drove to her house.  They also seem to manage to preserve a reasonably comfortable standard of living.  We sat outside under trees, met her family, and had an interesting and pleasant visit.  L. established a group of women from the village who initiate agricultural projects, like producing organic olive oil, etc.  They’ve obtained initial funding from overseas sources.  They have a monthly working meeting.  We thought we might come to one of the meetings.  We exchanged phone numbers.  Maybe we’ll learn something from them about empowering women.
17:30  Habla agricultural gate.  The usual crossing routine.  The people we met didn’t have any particular complaints.  We asked the soldiers what they thought of the fact that an entire village is fenced in, its agricultural activity depending on the limited number of hours that the gate is open – they didn’t understand why that should be a problem.