Habla, Qalqiliya, Mon 10.1.11, Morning

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Ronny S., Shoshana Z., Nina S. (reporting), Translator: Charles K.




07:01  Habla gate

The soldiers open the gate.  The hours have changed; the gate is now open from 7 to 9 AM.  That’s pretty dumb, because people want to get to work earlier and it wouldn’t make a difference to the pupils who arrive a little after 7 if the gate opened an hour earlier and closed an hour earlier.  The army gods, as usual, know what they’re doing…


The first 20 people crossed in 12 minutes.  The buses with the pupils arrive, and each driver has to wait a few minutes until the soldiers consent to inspect him, instead of doing so immediately.


The soldier in position stands with his weapon pointed directly at those going through, not raised 45 degrees as we were taught, and as he must have been taught also.


07:55  Jayyus gate, north

Two large piles of rocks that appear to be blocking the crossing on the way down to the gate.  Only a narrow space remained, which we were able to get through in the car despite the rocks.  We asked a taxi driver about it; he said that children afraid that soldiers will come to the village at night put the rocks there.  That’s strange, because the rocks are huge.  The soldiers at the checkpoint knew nothing about it.  A man came running to the gate at the last minute before it closed and a tractor that arrived right afterwards were allowed through.  One soldier wanted to close but the other said to wait for them.  The opening and closing hours here haven’t changed.


08:15  Falamya gate, north

An elderly man with a donkey comes back from the gate.  He says his son came that morning with an expired document and a new one; the soldiers took them.  We contacted the DCO which looked into it and said the documents were forged.  We told him he must go to the DCO to obtain a new document.


09:00  We called the mukhtar of Nebi Elias village and went to see him to see what’s happening regarding entry of residents to their lands on the other side of the fence.


We arranged to meet again next week.


Here’s a report on the conversation:


Conversation with Jalal, the Nebi Elias village head, 10.1.11

Participating:  Nina S., Shoshana Z., Ronny S. (reporting)


We learned that the village of Nebi Elias, which we pass through almost every week, also has had some of its lands taken to build the settlements of Zufim and Alfei Menashe, and there are some people who have been forbidden to work any of their land, so with the help of one of the landowners we arranged a meeting with the head of the village.


The meeting took place in the office of the sewing workshop he owns.


In 2000 fences were erected along Route 55, where the village is located, and the villagers weren’t allowed to reach their lands.  They contacted Michael Sfarad, the attorney, and it took four years for the court to decide that the fence on the Zufim side should be dismantled.  Two more years elapsed before that happened, and today there are still two families who can’t reach their lands.  There’s no agricultural gate to those lands.  In the past it was possible to go through the Zufim gate (with a permit, of course), but this year no one received a permit.  Those families also have land outside the fence but about 20 dunums of olive groves that have remained on the other side are very important to them.


The fence near Alfei Menashe wasn’t removed or moved “because of security considerations.”  Ten village families have about 200 dunums there.  Some have permits to cross through the Eliyahu gate (109).  Young people don’t receive permits, only those over 50.  It’s a long detour (we didn’t ask if they’re permitted to bring in vehicles…).  More than half the families have all their lands on the other side of the fence.


The village has 1500 residents; a new school is under construction because the existing one is too small.


The conversation was interesting.  The village head is a young man.  His Hebrew, that he learned in Israel, is good.


We made an appointment to meet again next week with representatives of additional families.