'Azzun, Eliyahu Crossing, Habla, Jayyus
Nina S., Karin L., Shoshi A. (reporting). Translator : Hanna K.
Meeting with EAPPI volunteers at Jayyus
Endeavour to find a solution to the water pump problem at Habla
11:00 Eliyahu crossing – Sparse traffic in both directions.
Jayyus – meeting with 6 EAPPI people who arrived at the West Bank, 5 to Jayyus and one to Hebron (from Sweden, Austria, England, Switzerland) for a period of 3 months as volunteers. Their core group at Tul Karem has been cancelled. They turned to us and asked whether it was possible to help the Palestinian farmers, especially as regards the opening hours of the agricultural gates at Aqaba and at other Checkpoints to which our members to not arrive. We get from them a list of Checkpoints in the north west part of the West Bank with their opening hours, amongst which are: Deir al Ghusun, Qaffin, Akkaba, and decide to go there in our next shift and try to find the way there.
We take from the Ecumenicist their phone numbers and give them ours, and ask them to inform us of every problem they may encounter at the Checkpoints to which they go every morning.
12:30 Azzun – A visit at the shop of Z., who tells us that the army still stops people who enter or leave the village in the evening or at night and checks them.
At the exit from Azzun there is a military vehicle.
11.00 Eliyahu crossing There are 5 vehicles being checked. The traffic flows.
Plant Nursery at Habla – we came to find out what happens with the water pump that has been confiscated and what could be done in order to solve the problem. We heard a "Rashumon story" – different versions. How can one solve this mess?
Reminder: According to the plant nurseries' owners they asked to exchange the old water pump which was activated by diesel oil, for a new pump, activated by electricity. For the pump they received a donation from the Government of Sweden, the pump was purchased, brought to the place but was not yet connected. According to them, during a visit of the DCO representatives which took place some time before, A' from the plant nursery told them about their intention to exchange the pump for an electrical one and made it clear that the voltage which comes from Qilqiliya isn't strong enough, and in order to activate the pump the will have to join the existing cable which passes underground from Habla, under the CP. The DCO representatives didn't think there was a problem (this, of course, was said, not recorded). Immediately preparations were made for laying the cable, but of course it wasn't connected.
A., went to the municipality of Qalqiliya to get the authorization of the Palestinian electricity company, paid 8000,- IS, an engineer arrived, checked, confirmed and signed.
A month ago, when they wanted to install the pump, they came from the DCO to check and then the electrical pump was confiscated as well as the old diesel oil one (which was already dismantled at this stage) and was stored at a cost of 600 IS per day.
The reasoning : as those responsible for the pump did not receive a permit, they committed a felony. Felons!!! And this is final, not less.
In the meantime water is brought in tankers and distributed to the plant nurseries. A month passes and nothing is done. Everybody who is approached has new suggestions and has new postulations.
After many endeavors to get the telephone numbers Nina holds conversations with:
Adal – Head of the DCO
Asher Wiesel – Responsible for infrastructures at the civil administration
Sharon Ben Ari – the liaison person at the DCO with international organisations
The Swedish representative - talks Arabic and English
The demands are in short - To pass on to the DCO the authorization of the engineer from Qalqiliya, to get a confirmation from the Swedes that in future they won't install pumps without permits, to send a fax from A. to the DCO confirming that they won't install the new pump without permit. To fill out a form at the DCO requesting the exchange of the pump from diesel to electricity. A whole month and bureaucracy celebrates! And these are demands which arrived from different sides so that it isn't at all sure that when all are fulfilled the matter will be settled.
According to the Palestinians there is a feeling that there is not chance for them to receive a permit, because if it is necessary to get a permit, then such a permit must also be authorized at the joint water commission of the Palestinians and the Israelis. At this commission, we are told, there is give and take. In order to give a permit for the pump (which exists already 60 years, and all they wanted to do was to upgrade it) the Palestinians will be forced to agree to something similar at some settlement, and the chance for this is meager.
A., promises to pass on the engineer's authorization and to file a proper request in the regular channels, and we promise to check again whether we can find at solution to the problem, and whether the plant nurseries will finally get water from the well.
13:30 Habla CP – The agricultural gate is open but few people pass. A woman with a basket enters and a plant nursery tender with trees leaves.
At the plant nursery we heard that yesterday the gate wasn't opened at noon. We check the reason by talking to the soldiers. It turns out that the security person at the shopping center in Alfey Menashe committed suicide by gunshot. The force was summoned, as there probably was a murder, i.e. terrorist act alarm, and the force was instructed not to open the CP "for security reasons". Even when it became clear that this wasn't a terrorist act but a suicide, the order wasn't reversed in order to enable to people to return home at noon.
14:00 We return to the plant nursery to continue our conversation with the responsible people.