'Azzun, Eliyahu Crossing, Habla, Jit Junction , Thu 7.11.13, Afternoon
We read in the press that the army is conducting exercises in Palestinian villages; the military prosecutor’s office sees nothing wrong with this. We went to Immatin to observe what’s happening there.
Settlers attack Palestinians picking olives on their own lands. The IDF can’t control the rioters. We drove to Jit to speak with the residents.
The gate is still closed. Two women and ten men wait. We can see about 20 people and a number of vehicles waiting on the other side to leave the village.
According to the posted sign, the gate should open at 13:00. The soldiers and female MPs are there but the gate remains closed. We asked what’s going on; the soldiers say that one minute before the crew left this morning two youths threw rocks at their vehicle and fled toward Habla. The gate was already closed and they weren’t caught. Now those waiting for the gate to open are being collectively punished with a 15 minute delay in opening the gate. Meanwhile the MP updates the sign showing the hours the gate is open. The updated hours for Habla are:
13:15 The punishment is over. The gates open. The first eight people walk from the village to the revolving gate and continue to the inspection station. The first five enter Habla. Trucks and pickups exit, loaded with wood. Crossing goes quickly in both directions. Unusually, women and children also cross. You can tell it’s a holiday. A flock of sheep crosses last; a black goat whose front legs are hobbled brings up the rear.
13:40 Eliyahu crossing. Four people cross on foot. Three cars wait for inspection. They go through quickly.
14:00 Azzun. We visit Z. to leave parcels and talk. He tells us there’s a strike today of all the institutions that receive modest salaries from the Palestinian Authority. Municipalities, post office, schools, courts – they’re all closed today. (Our friend is probably incorrect – today’s a holiday.)
And what else is happening in Azzun? Soldiers check all vehicles entering and leaving (Highway 55) after 5 PM, when it gets dark. They detain everyone. Simply harassment.
14:10 We drove to Jit. Smoke rises from among the olive trees to the east. We don’t know why.
14:30 Jit. We run into two pleasant young women who speak English; one is a pharmacist. They tell us that settlers ran riot during the olive harvest, attacked Palestinians in the groves, and when the soldiers arrived they provided no help at all to those under attack. International organizations and others assisted a little with the harvest this year. The two women promised that if we come back (preferably on a Saturday) someone will show us the area with the burned olive trees.
14:20 Immatin. At the entrance to the shop we talked with two Palestinians who knew a little Hebrew. They told us the village has about 3,500 inhabitants, and a new school was recently built. Only about 70 people have permits to work in Israel. Many villagers have been blacklisted by the Shabak (JSS). We gave them Sylvia’s phone number. They say that soldiers in jeeps came to the village a few months ago and conducted exercises – training in a built-up area, including entering a house, taking the father outside, frightened children crying, destroying furniture, taking the father for a circuit of the village and bringing him back home with no explanation – all that in order to maintain the soldiers’ fitness to conduct such operations. The sovereign believes anything goes!
About eight months ago settlers torched four cars in the village. The villagers say the Gil’ad Farm was erected on their land. Now Palestinians aren’t allowed to access their lands on the hill slopes where they grow wheat and olives. Every time their lands were torched soldiers arrived but offered no help.
As we left Immatin we again saw flames in an olive grove. We stopped in Al Funduq to find out why. They think it’s a controlled burn. If you believe that….
15:40 Eliyahu crossing. About four cars in each lane waiting to cross.
We didn’t remove MW flag.
The security guard asks whether we’d gone to the mall in Nablus.
No, we visited Qedumim settlement…