Deir Ballut, Kufr alDik, Shomron Crossing, Tue 9.4.13, Morning
10:00 We drove to Deir Balut. Heading southwest on Highway 446 we see Jewish construction continuing on both sides. North of the road, on the ridge where the settlement of Alei Zahav sits, the neighborhood/locality (?) of Leshem is being built diligently. The same is happening south of the road, on the ridge where the settlements of Beit Arieh and Pdu’el are located. The tempo of construction is really frightening. On both ridges building extends almost to the junction of the road to Ramallah and Jerusalem, where there was once a checkpoint. On both sides of the road from there to Deir Balut are cultivated fields with well-cared-for crops. Let’s hope no one covets them…
Southwest of Deir Balut we see troubling new fence construction.
We came to Deir Balut to meet the coordinator of activities for women; about two months ago she asked to speak with us about possible activities in the village. In the absence of the elected local council head she was joined by the city engineer. She lives in Bidiya but works in Deir Balut. Nadim was very helpful translating and explaining what each side was saying. The city engineer speaks a little English, which also helped.
We told them about Machsom Watch and why we’d come, and heard a little about the village. It turns out there are almost no community activities for women – except infrequently, when outsiders offer help or training (non-professional) in various areas. We offered to teach English, handicrafts and perhaps lead exercise classes, and told them about the “Beach Days.” The coordinator preferred Hebrew classes. We decided to return in two weeks to meet with the women themselves to find out what they’d like.
12:00 On our way back we drove through the villages of a-Diq and Brukin. We saw almost no cars on the road and in the villages, nor any sign of the army.
We shortened our shift because of other commitments. Nadim was asked for his ID at the Shomron gate. We weren’t delayed.