Tours in Villages: Deir Ballut, Kufr alDik, Sun 24.2.13, Morning
En route on Highway 5 we see accelerated construction at the Ariel industrial zone, Barkan.
Kafr ad Diq
We met with J.A., the new village head, who welcomed us warmly. He has no complaints with respect to permits and the seam zone. But about a week ago they began seeing surveyors’ marks in their agricultural lands. They’re afraid Israel has its eye on a hill overlooking the area and the settlements of Fadu’el and Aley Zahav. The area has olive groves which are intensively cultivated by the Palestinians even though they’re in Area C. We drove there with him; a pleasant spring day, pastoral, amazing flowers. Alongside an agricultural track we see red numbers on boulders. We photograph some of them for documentation, to find out what they are and to give them to Dror Etkes. We met a farmer on the way building a stone wall to keep out goats. He describes the route of the numbers cutting across the fields and up the aforementioned hill. On the way back to the village, J. shows us two buildings in the final stages of construction which received "stop work" orders two days ago because they lack required permits, even though they’re on privately owned land. But, unfortunately, they’re on the border between Area C and the Palestinian Authority. We take photocopies of the "stop work" orders to find out what will happen to the buildings, without making any great promises.
On our way to Deir Ballut the infrastructure work at Aley Zahav and Fadu’el and the expansion of the settlements is obvious.
The head of the village isn’t there; J.H., the young village engineer, meets us instead. She lives in Biddya, studied architecture at Al Najah University in Nablus. Deir Ballut has 8000 dunams of agricultural land beyond the fence, but because they were used for growing non-irrigated crops like wheat and barley their owners aren’t entitled to agricultural permits, so the agricultural gate in the fence doesn’t open to give them access to their lands. In 2004 and 2006 the villagers tried to return to those lands, planting olive trees which were uprooted. Since then they’ve stopped trying. The village also suffers from the army’s surprise visits and from arrests.
[Local atmosphere - photo of a pond formed by rain at the entrance to Deir Ballut.]
In the past, A’adel, the DCO head in Qalqiliya, had been relatively cooperative and demonstrated good will, but recently he doesn’t respond when we try to contact him, claiming that solutions have to come from the Palestinian DCO and the Israeli appeals committees.
We’re not sure how to continue our activities in the seam zone, because of this stiffer attitude as well. One thing we’re considering is becoming more involved in cases of people denied permits, encouraging and accompanying Palestinians appearing before appeals committees, and/or keeping a record of applications for the coming olive harvest like we did, in part, in the past. We’ll be glad to hear additional ideas.
There were many disturbances reported on the West Bank the morning we went to the villages, many incidents and violent confrontations because of how inmates are treated and the death of the prisoner Arafat Jaradat. The radio also reported rioting in Huwwara
. To our amazement, when we passed there on our way back the entire area, including Za’tara junction, Huwwara and the crossing, was open and calm. What could it mean?