Eyal Crossing, Habla, Kafr Zibad, Wed 25.1.12, Afternoon
Translator: Charles K.
12:50There’s no one here. A commercial vehicle arrives with a family from ‘Arab ar-Ramadin. The driver tells us that he received a new demolition order. We ask him to tell us when the bulldozers are scheduled to show up.
13:00A military Hummer arrives. Meanwhile Palestinians have come to the gates on both sides of the road.
13:10Only the gate from Habla opens. The first six people go through.
Our friend in the commercial vehicle is allowed to cross (he has a permit); the people on foot can’t as yet.
Donkey carts, two tractors, a car and a flock of sheep come through from the village.
A young man we’ve met a number of times approaches us; he speaks Hebrew well. He tells us that 8000 people live in Habla, but only 1000 have work. 7000 are unemployed. He predicts the day isn’t far off when the Arabs will dismantle the fences and concertina wire and sell them to the scrap metal dealers.
He thinks the Palestinian Authority takes care of the large towns but not the small villages, which don’t interest it.
13:20 The first five people waiting to enter the village are finally allowed through.
13:30Another flock crosses, and more vehicles. Schoolchildren are on vacation.
13:40We drive onto Highway 55, turn right toward Kokhav Ya’ir and Tayibeh.
About seven drivers wait for passengers at the Eyal checkpoint, but nobody comes through. We met an Israeli citizen, a Moslem, who told us about the hardships he faces crossing through Eliyahu/Gate 109. He can’t understand why an Israeli citizen must be harassed and why he and his vehicle must be inspected by dogs. Since the Intifada they haven’t had a life. “What is our country doing to us?", he asks.
14:00 We drive on to Zufin settlement. The soldier at the gate lets us through without any questions. (Israelis coming from Qalqiliya aren’t allowed to enter the locality if they haven’t been invited by one of the residents. What’s the sense of forbidding entry through one gate and allowing people to come in without inspection through the other??). We drive around the trim locality. Many “For sale” and “For rent” signs on houses, cottages and building lots.
Construction continues apace.
14:40We get on Highway 55, toward Nablus, and turn right to Azzun.
15:00 Kafr Zibad –At the grocery we look for someone who speaks Hebrew or English; we’re invited to Nabil’s home, the president of the sports club serving all the village children (aged 8-18) in the afternoons. Three days for the girls, three for the boys.
The village has 1300 residents. Many have emigrated. If they’re counted, the village’s population is 6500. Forty families have land beyond the fence (in the seam zone). Six families didn’t receive permits to cultivate their land. The villagers work for the Palestinian Authority, private companies, shops, and only about 20-25 people have permits to work in Israel.
All pupils who finish high school continue on to university. They look for work after they get their degree.
Our host worked in construction in Israel for five years. Then he trained to be a teacher. He knows Israel well. He’s also a tour guide in East Jerusalem, for area residents, students in particular. Yesterday he crossed through Qalandiya – the inspections were exhausting. He thinks a peace agreement can be reached with Abu Mazen.
Karin tells him about the trips to the beach in the summer, and he expresses interest. Before we part he shows us around his magnificent, well-ordered home which he finished building only two years ago.
16:30 Eliyahu crossing, then home.