'Azzun, Ar-Ras, Eliyahu Crossing, Jayyus, Kufr Jammal
Jayyus, Kufr Tzur
As part of our attempts to find out what happens in the seam zone villages during olive harversting time, we visited the villages between Qalqilya and Tulkarm. From Kufr A-Ras we were told by phone that they have no problem accessing their lands, which were returned to the West Bank with the completion of the Jubarra fence.
We made some appointments in Jayyus and Kufr Tzur. The inhabitants are experiencing difficulties as a result of changes in the layout of the separation fence and in the location and schedules of the gates. It is also difficult to obtain permits for the various gates. For years they have relied on closer gates, which were open 12 hours a day.
We managed to find out the hours of operation of the various gates, most of which are open for around 30 minutes 3 times a day.
11:00 Eliyahu CP: No westbound vehicles.
‘Azzun: there was no military vehicle at the main entrance, but lively traffic in the town and the stores.
11:30 Jayyus. Our informant, with the help of a translator, told us the following:
Things are not clear yet. The gate at Jayyus North (943) has not been opened recently, and likewise for Jayyus South (977). There is uncertainty about what will happen at harvest time. Although the new fence added 2500 acres to the east side, there are still 6000 acres on the west side. It will be difficult for many of the landowners to still tend their lands, and particularly to bring the harvest to market, because the new gate, 2 km west of the old Falamya gate, will be opened just 3 times a day rather than 12 hours continuously. Many of the olive groves are close to the gate adjacent to the well of Falamya (919?), which also opens just 3 times a day, for too-short periods. It is 3 km in each direction, and opens at 05:00, and for those who reach it on foot, this is too early, and they sometimes miss it.
People are required to have new licences and have not yet received them. The growers appeal to the Jayyus municipality, which submits the list to the Palestinian DCO and then the Israeli one. Only half of those who requested permits for the new gate received them. No licences for the main gate have been received (??).
We visit the home of G, who came on his tractor from the field.
They were unaffected by the new layout of the fence, but on the other hand, suffer from the change of opening hours. They had counted until now on free and continuous access to their lands during daylight hours.
Gate 804 (Jubarra south, or Tzur A-Ras) is open only for the month, at harvest time. G thinks it should be open between October and December daily for harvesting, February to mid April for plowing, July for weeding and picking almonds. He also complained about the hours, which make it difficult to pass laborers and harvests.
He also complained about the permits. He regrets having followed instructions to apply on Sept. 20 with all the paperwork. He was promised the permit for the following day, and hasn't received it yet.
Altogether 6 of 50 applicants received their harvesting permits, and meanwhile people from Taybeh are stealing their olives.
A. from Jamal village added his stories. In addition to olives, they also grow Za’atar, guavas, clementines, and have hothouses. A. has hundreds of acres of za’atar, and a packaging plant to ship abroad with many workers. He has 4 tractors for bringing the produce to market, but is hindered by the short opening hours of the gates. The hours are also irregular, and the uncertainty disrupts their work. He finds it hard to depend on the whims of the soldiers. He also compalined that the Sal'it gate was hard to cross in the morning, with a queue of 200 workers headed to the Sal'it industrial zone.
They do not accept the excuses made by the DCO for these hours. They want to arrange a petition for better hours.
G. praised Adal, a DCO officer who saved 7 palestinians who were swept away by the heavy rains two years ago, stepping into the water himself, and summoning soldiers and equipment to help out there, and in ‘Anabta.