Eliyahu Crossing, Habla, Kufr Jammal, Tue 23.4.13, Afternoon
The main goal: To gather information about Palestinians in Kafr Jamal who aren’t able to cultivate their lands in the seam zone on a regular basis.
13:00 Habla checkpoint
A number of Palestinians and cars wait on both sides of the checkpoint for it to open.
13:05 The military vehicle arrives, though late; the soldiers get organized quickly and soon the first group of seven Palestinian crosses toward Habla. An Israeli vehicle belonging to a pesticide company is also permitted through after a discussion with the soldiers. The Palestinians we spoke to don’t have any complaints.
13:30 The children’s bus goes through.
14:00 Eliyahu gate checkpoint
No delays in the lanes to Israel.
14:30 Kafr Jamal
After a few phone calls and help from local residents we found the place we were to meet H.K., whom we’d met two weeks ago. We’d asked him, as did Petahya and Chana A. who’d met him last week, to prepare a list of the people who can’t get to their lands and aren’t able to cultivate them. A few other residents of the village joined us, including one who spoke Hebrew. We received a list of 14 residents who aren’t able to cultivate their lands as they should because they can’t bring a tractor and equipment to them.
They explained that in order to reach their lands after going through the Falamya gate, which is open for 12 hours, they must drive north along the security road to five gates scattered along the concertina wire fence west of the road. Three or four families used to go through each of those gates to their lands which were nearby, and they could raise various crops, other than olive trees. But these gates have been long closed. The stated reason for the closing had been damage caused by wild boars. They’ve been opened since only for a few days during the olive harvest.
They say that olive groves also have to be worked from time to time and today they have no convenient way to reach their land, and tractors can’t get there at all. They’d like those gates, at least the middle one among the five, to be open at least two days a week all year long so every farmer can reach their land, cultivate it and grow what he wants without hindrance. A reasonable request everywhere no fence separates a person from their land – that is, where there’s no occupation. About a year ago they toured the area with ‘Adel (Roni mediated) who promised he’d try to have the army open at least the middle of the five gates. The army didn’t agree.
We drove together for about one kilometer along the road to observe the area. Their lands extend all the way from Sal’it with its red roofed homes in the north to Tzur Yig’al. Large areas among the groups of vineyards seem uncultivated.
15:30 We returned via Kafr Elias.
16:00 Eliyahu gate
We noticed the signs. The right lane is for Palestinians with permits. In front of us, in the Israeli lane, the security guard had a long conversation with a driver, inspected his ID card, his car, and sent him to be checked in the shed to the right. She also was curious about us and asked (among other things) whether we weren’t afraid.