Haris

Observers: 
Bella Rubin, Sarah Chiartis, Naomi Bentzur (reporting) in Nadim's car Translator: Louise Levi
22/06/2014
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Morning

9:30 We leave the train station in Rosh HaAyin. We drive on Road 5.

9:50 Tapuah junction - There are two soldiers at the checkpoint and two at the bus stop. One soldier is on watch in the tower.

10:15 We arrive at Jurish.

Bella's report from the English lessons:

13 pupils participated in the lessons. We divided them into two groups – elementary level and advanced level. There was much excitement in both groups and the pupils participated willingly. The advanced class practiced the past, present and future tenses of the verb while using their new vocabulary. When, towards the second half of the lesson a board was brought into the classroom, I wrote examples which the pupils copied in their notebooks. Their homework is to write their own sentences.

The elementary group progressed nicely, since each pupil had many opportunities to practice the new material. They were very happy to help each other. Their homework is to read sentences in the past and the future.

Sarah's report from the yoga lessons:

The women's improved awareness of their own bodies could be noticed. Their ability to relax has improved. The older women find it harder to move their bodies. The younger participants show more interest and cooperate more willingly.

11:00 Naomi and Nadim visit the neighboring village, Majdal. We are happy to hear the head of the local council telling us that in these difficult times life in the village goes on as usual. An army vehicle drives through the village from time to time, but without provocations. Nevertheless, we continue talking and further details are revealed: Three months ago three men and one woman, the wife of one of the men, charged with the planning of abduction were arrested. They are now in administrative detention, but as far as is known, they are not hunger striking. Apart from these detaineesinfo-icon two more residents are in jail: one is sentenced to two life imprisonments and the other to 17 years.

What are the livelihoods of the 300 residents in the village? Some of the men have permits and work in agriculture in the Jordan Valley. Others work in construction in the surrounding villages. The minority works for the Palestinian authorities. Of course, there are also those who are prohibited from getting permits by the General Security Services.

Fortunately, the main part of the village is situated in area B. However, area C borders on Majdal just a few meters from the building of the local council and actually encloses the village. What an arbitrary decision. Since 2010, 20 families have received letters with warnings of demolition orders. The head of the local council believes that as long as the quiet in the village is maintained, the orders will not be executed. According to him, since there is no separation barrier, the villagers can reach their land and work the fields without limitations, and the same goes for the olive picking season. Like G'uris, Majdal explains the relatively quiet life in the village by its good relations with the two not very typical neighboring settlements, Migdalim and Gittit.

12:40  We return to Jurish. When the lessons in English and yoga are over we leave.

13:20  We arrive at Haris. This is a report about the vandalism having occurred there and the death of the Imam

The main street of the small village is almost deserted.  We find one shop open.  What the owner told us was confirmed by passersby who joined the discussion:

The army invaded the village at 03:30 on Saturday.  A large number of armed soldiers began a systematic job of destruction.  They broke into a wedding hall, broke the door and windows.  They destroyed the stage on which the couple sits during the wedding ceremony, and made the sound system inoperable.

From there they continued to the villagers’ homes, breaking doors and windows.  They dumped out the contents of cupboards and closets (one of the villagers said they took gold jewelry and cash they found in the cupboards.  That’s unconfirmed.)  They broke dishes, spilled on the floor the contents of sacks containing food.

While the soldiers were vandalizing the village imam emerged from his home – an elderly, ill man – on his way to the mosque for early morning prayer, as he did daily.  Soldiers stopped him, forcibly prevented him from entering the mosque.  The imam, extremely upset, argued with the soldiers, and in the course of the argument collapsed and fell to the ground.  The villagers hurried to call an ambulance from the Palestinian Authority, but soldiers prevented it from entering the village and didn’t allow the medical team to reach the site of the incident.

Only after the soldiers met their quota of destruction and left the village did the ambulance team come to the aid of the imam.  But it was too late.  In the absence of timely medical treatment, the imam died.

Does this serious incident appear in the statistics?  Were Israelis told of it?  And what difference does it make?  The imam, after all, was old, and sick.  His time had come.  The circumstances?  Who really cares?