'Azzun, Irtah (Sha'ar Efrayim), Mon 13.9.10, Afternoon
Translator: Charles K.
15:00 - We turned right off Route 55 to Azzun. A new yellow barrier has been installed at the entrance to the village, but it’s wide open. We drove north under the highway, to Jayyous. We stopped at the grocery store. Salah, the owner, came over to us, invited us in warmly, saying: “I heard you talking Hebrew and was glad. Come more often, and bring other Israelis with you. There’s room for both people in this land. Why must we be enemies? Pour our blood onto the earth? The earth belongs to God.” The words of Salah, from Jayyous.
The main stories:The usual routine. Soldiers go to homes where 17- or 18-year-old youths live, knock on the door in the middle of the night, wakink the entire family up. They take the youths, or send them to the DCO. It usually involves attempts to obtain collaboration, trying different ways to convince them.
Samir Salim – used to work in Israel, but has been prevented from doing so after his brother was killed by the IDF. Most of his land is west of the fence but he can’t get a permit to go across and cultivate it. He also has land east of the fence, adjacent to it, on which he erected a large chicken house. But he’s been told he needs a permit, which he’s been trying to obtain since 1999, to no avail. Finally he was ordered to demolish it. It was demolished, and a number of years ago he went to court. He showed us a thick file with all the documents and correspondence. Shoshi gave him the phone number of a lawyer, Fathi Shabita, who handles cases like this; she knows him personally. She even called him. It turns out that the case has to be handled via the village’s local council – Sharif Umar, or Abu Azzam. We informed Samir Salim, and hope that something can be done.
Nadr el Salim – His father worked in Israel for many years. When Nadr was 15 his father was injured and was no longer able to work, so he himself worked in Israel to support himself and his family. One day he was caught and jailed, received a 5-year suspended sentence to be implemented if he was caught again in Israel. That was more than five years ago. He’s now 31, married, his wife is pregnant and he wants to obtain a work permit, but doesn’t receive one. We’ll refer the case to Sylvia; perhaps she can help.
Salah, the shop owner, wanted us to speak with Sharif Umar, from the local council, and with others, but it was already past 16:00 and we were in a hurry to get to Irtach. We’ll meet them next time.
We drove through Kafr Jamal and Kafr Tzur, saw the settlement of Sla’it jammed between the two villages; from there we continued to Beit Lid, Safarin and then to Irtach.
17:00 - Irtach
The booths are completely empty, the many laborers arrived at the checkpoint are quickly swallowed up. The complaints refer to what happens in the morning. They’re held in the rooms for hours. One of the laborers told us that this morning he was kept in a room for an hour and a half. He loses a significant portion of his workday, and sometimes the entire day.