Tour of Villages / Meeting with Head of Marda Municipality, 28-8-2013

Observers: Natalie Cohen, Tikva Tabechnik, Naomi Ben-Zur (reporting), in Nadim`s vehicle
Seriously? Does this make us safer?

Translation: Shelly K.


9:00 Rosh Ha’ayin Railway Station

9:30 MARDA. Meeting with Head of Municpality

Right from the start of the meeting the Head of Marda’s Municpality states the village’s major problems: Many months have passed during which the villages 3500 residents are suffering from a water shortage. The shortage is a result of poorly adjusted water pressure. Mekorot could have solved the problem easily without any financial investment. What’s needed is a bit of good will and the desire to take care of the problem in Kfar Tsama:  balancing the water pressure. But who has the necessary good will? So the Head of the Municpality is burdened with closing the valves in the evening and opening them in the morning in order to increase the water pressure during the day and ease the suffering of the village residents.


An additional problem is the frequent power outages, during summer and winter. The Electric Company avoids its responsibility and relies on the residents to come up with the necessary funds. The solution to the problem (NIS 1,500,000). The villagers are waiting for contributions from overseas. Doubtful if they will arrive.


If these two problems which have a harsh effect on the quality of life of the residents weren’t enough, here’s another one. Overcrowded housing. The built up area of the village is primarily designated as Area B.  In this area there is not any room left to build. Without any alternatives, many of the families live together in a structure built for a single family. The Civil Administration ignores the need to release lands for building (which belong to the village residents!) and burdens the village with suggesting a solution.  Those in the municipality are supposed to suggest a program, along with aerial photographs, that costs NIS 15,000. And where will this money come from? And what about the constant, non-stop expansion of the settlements? Thus the release of lands is necessary for survival and natural growth of the village.


In order to work the land and harvest in Area C, the villagers receive 6 days per year. It can happen that during those 6 days, there will be three days of rainfall and make it impossible to work. Are replacement days available?  Of course not.  During the three remaining days it is impossible to harvest all the trees belonging to the village residents. And who benefits the most? The residents of Ariel who climb the trees and pick their fruit.


Other thefts perpetrated by Ariel residents – the establishment of a horse ranch on the village’s land.  Villagers who are not prevented from passing,  go to work in Israel via the Qalqiliya checkpoint, or work in Ariel. Seven of the residents are in jail, one of them for 25 years. None of them will be freed in the near future.

One positive thing: in the recent past, the army is not making problems. Soldiers enter and exit the village without any provocation.

10:30 Za’tara Checkpoint; Tapuach Junction – The street is still. On the road leading to Huwwara traffic flows in both directions.

Huwwara Checkpoint – Partial removal of the barbed wire fence that surrounds the checkpoint area.

The checkpoints in Bet Furik and Bet Dejan are open.


On the hilltop where the settlement of Izhar is built – a dirt embankment is in the works. At the Jit junction, the checkpoint is open but there are bricks arranged on the side for another use. Near the Inn, a police vehicle is pursuing a Palestinian vehicle that perhaps violated traffic laws. Two cars detained are parked alongside the road. The fines imposed on them were very high, NIS 1,000 – 1,500. Yet another means of oppressing the Palestinians. The checkpoint to the entrance of Azun is open. At the junction of Alfeh Menasha, the building of a square is moving along.


11:30  Return to Rosh Ha’ayin