Habla, Mon 29.11.10, Morning
Habla, Jayyus and Falamya agricultural gates, 29.11.10, morning
Important information for everyone observing the agricultural gates:
The opening and closing times of the crossings were changed again as of yesterday (28.11.10), and it’s still not clear what they are. Check with the DCO, though they’re also not coordinated with the army. To the best of our understanding, the hours are now the same as they were before the olive harvest began, but not exactly…
We arrived at 06:50. According to our information, the gate was to have opened at 06:45, but the first five people entered for inspection only after we arrived. The Palestinians are dissatisfied that the gates now open later, making them late for work. The soldiers check the bags and satchels of people entering before they reach the inspection station.
07:05 The school bus arrives; the second bus follows immediately. The drivers get out for a fast check of their IDs and the buses drive on very quickly.
A long line of Palestinians is still waiting to cross, but we leave for Jayyus.
07:25 Jayyus west (943)
The gate is still closed, but the soldiers are already on site. A long line waiting: tractors, horse and donkey carts, women and men, young and old in a winding line at the gate.
The gate opens at 07:30
Two soldiers inspect those crossing one by one manually, and IDs are checked by the policewoman on a laptop resting on the vehicle. Here, too, people complain that the gate is again opening later.
The Palestinians push and near the gate, soldiers yell at them and threaten to close it if they don’t move back. Maria, the ecumenical volunteer who lives in Jayyus with her colleagues, counts how many cross and reports about 50 people and many vehicles crossed (even a huge bulldozer).
A waiting tractor driver tells us that even though the olive harvest is over some people still have three-month permits to access their lands, but when they expire they won’t be renewed.
He also tells us of an interesting project funded by the Red Cross – a farm on land beyond the fence. Netafim, the Israeli company, donated drip irrigation equipment and the Red Cross donated saplings. They plan to plant a grove of guavas and a lemon orchard. Everything’s ready for planting but Israel isn’t allowing the saplings through and the entire investment may be lost.
[Has anyone heard about this project, and how we can help? Unfortunately, I didn’t get the name and phone number of the man I spoke to, but maybe we can find out through our contacts in Jayyus.]
07:58 All have crossed and the soldiers begin closing the gates. A man comes running and although the gate isn’t closed yet the soldiers, led by the policewoman, refuse to let him through. Neither the volunteer nor we are able to convince them that the gate is supposed to remain open until 08:15. Another female soldier who had apparently been in the Hummer appears and harangues the soldiers that they have to be tough with the Palestinians and keep them on a short leash.
By the time we were able to contact the DCO, the soldiers had already driven off. The DCO said the gate was supposed to be open until 08:15, and that’s what the soldiers were told. The DCO said they’d look into it. We also complained to the humanitarian office about the soldiers’ behavior.
We took the man to the Falamya crossing and waited to make sure he’d be able to cross.
We drove through the village of Jamal and saw that the Palestinian Authority, with assistance from the Belgian government, is paving a road bypassing the village
We drove through amazing landscapes, through the village of Hajavillage, down to Funduq.