Thu 16.12.10, Morning Visit to Beit Jamal
News from the field: A new regional council was established this week for seven villages in the Tulkarm sub-district.
A village with 3000 residents. Four hamulas. They have agricultural land, greenhouses, guava groves, citrus, avocado and fields of za’atar exported to Jordan. The odor of za’atar is in the air. Wells provide them with water and they irrigate with plastic piping.
We visited the local council and spoke to Abu Shakar, the mukhtar, his son and two other residents.
This is our second visit, and the repeated complaints are:
Negligence by soldiers at Falamiya gate: In the morning farmers are motioned through with a lazy wave of the hand; when they return in the afternoon the soldiers aren’t able to locate them on the lists of those who left in the morning, and then they’re either accused of being there illegally, or they’re sent to the DCO to renew their agricultural permit. They lose a day of work, and have expenses. We heard a similar complaint on our previous visit.
Reduction in the number of permits granted to farmers to work their lands. Non-renewal of existing permits.
A farmer with 200 sheep beyond the fence wanted to bring a tractor with feed through Falamiya gate this morning, but was permitted to bring only two sacks, and was required to coordinate betwee the Palestinian and Israeli DCO for the remainder. We tried to intervene and understand by phone. “Why?” “Because.”
Over coffee we discussed the situation. Abu Mazan isn’t much trusted; people expect a state to be established on the basis of the ’67 borders. The family had land in Tel Baruch and near the Mandarin Hotel by the sea. The Shalush family from Neve Zedeq would visit the village at the beginning of the last century. The father wants a state from sea to sea and he has a problem with the Zionists, not with the Jews, but the son doesn’t think he’s realistic.
Shakar’s son brought us from Beit Jamal to see the new regional council for seven villages. An splendid new building stands on the road between Zabed and Kur.
Mr. Farouk, the council head, welcomed us warmly. He’d been a school principal in Zabed for 26 years. His salary is paid by taxes from the villages of Jubara, Kur, Rax, Sur, Abbush, Beit Jamal and Zabed. He’s also prevented from working his fields – ten dunums of citrus. He leased the land to another farmer and loses NIS 10,000 a year.
He says that a flying checkpoint is erected once a week on the Zabed-Kur road for a few yours and soldiers inspect every car.
We returned via a visit to the Falamiya agricultural gate. The soldiers wouldn’t talk to us and made us stand far away.
Habla: 13:45 The children’s bus waits to cross and there’s a little traffic when the gate opens.