Kafr Jammal Thu 25.11.10, Morning
Translation: Hanna K.
We had arranged by telephone to meet the village head, but when we arrived at the village council house (the Baladia) we met three ladies who offered kahva to us and the conversation flew along easily with them. The head of the council wasn't there and one of the ladies suggested we drive to get him. With him two other dignitaries arrived, they were farmers. One of them knew English and the conversation was with his help. The head of the council wasn't eager to share things with us. The picturesque village lies on a winding road from Azoun northwards, and holds 3000 inhabitants.
The story of his lands under the occupation as it was told to us:
In 1948 they lost 10000 dunams of the village lands, in 1967 they had 6000 agricultural land left for olive, zaatar and vegetable growing. In 2002 when the fence was built, 3300 dunams were separated from their lands and are west of the fence, 360 dunams were confiscated for the fence area. This means that over half of their lands were confiscated and locked with gates behind the separation fence. These are the more fertile areas.
The Falamiya Gate is open most of the day,Gate No. 919 is a seasonal gate which is open about two months, too short a time for the cultivation of their land, and Gate 839 to the north, opposite Sal'it, is open for three limited periods during the day.
The problems: Difficulties in arriving to the lands which are scattered around the village. The two farmers with us explained which detours they are obliged to take in order to get to their plots by way of the gates. 5-7 kilometers more.
Endorsements were given for work in the areas, but they are limited. Nasser's son who went to work outside the village doesn't receive a permit. There is no possibility to get temporary permits for seasonal work, or to take a skilled labourer for a one time task. The woman with whom we talked told us about the difficulty in bringing her children who are pupils to work and help in the olive picking.
The harrasement of the army at the gates
There are times whentired or coffee drinking soldiers are too lazy to check the farmers when they go outand let them out with a movement of their hand. In the evening when the farmers return after a day's work they are detained for unlawful stay beyond the gate. Such an "offence" causes a penalty of going to the Israeli DCO and renew the permit. The DCO is sometimes closed and another day is robbed of the farmers.
Water – They are blessed with well water. They didn't remark on a problem with the water.
At the end of the meeting the head of the council Abu Shakr was prepared to soften and to talk to us. The first opposition "to talk with Israelis" disappeared. We bid him farewell with coffee, refreshments and a promise to come again.
Outside the women who invited us to see their sewing workshop were waiting. They work for an company in Tel Aviv and the contractor is an Israeli from the village of Bara. Again they offered us tea and chairs. More and more women arrived to talk to us. They want two things especially: to get to the sea and to Jerusalem.