Falamya - the new agricultural gate
06:15 The gate should open at 06:20; it opens at 06:25.
It’s intended for residents of Jayyus and Falamya. It was moved when the previous fence was moved to return some of the agricultural land to the residents but, of course, only some of the land. The villagers whose lands remained beyond the fence cross through the new gate – if they have a valid permit.
Unlike the previous Falamya gate, which was open all day, the new gate opens thrice a day for a set amount of time - in the morning from 06:20 (!) to 07:00. The Jayyus gate is closed completely, though there’s a rumor it will open during the olive harvest.
The first couple arrived from Jayyus with a donkey and cart, complaining the gate is far away and there’s one closer which isn’t currently operating (the former Jayyus gate). Others came by car or on a tractor pulling a wagon. Most brought cartons. We asked what they’re picking – guavas and avocados, some say; that’s what the cartons are for. It’s the start of the olive harvest which begins formally on October 1.
Inspection is conducted at the gate: the farmers show ID’s and an entry permit. An MP, a captain, is in charge. Every ID number is entered into a cellphone by one of the soldiers, apparently to check whether people return the same day. The MP checks the number on a list of “suspects.” One couple was stopped and began to argue. He had a permit for the given day. When we looked at the permits we saw his was valid until May, 2015, and his wife’s until 2016. But the soldiers said the permits had been cancelled and new ones were required, valid beginning on 1.10 (two days later.The appeal for flexibility failed, of course. When we asked the soldiers how farmers are supposed to know the permit was cancelled they answered “Everyone knows.” That certainly didn’t sound convincing, but the couple wasn’t allowed to enter. A vehicle that arrived at 07:05 was turned back.
We spoke to the MP about the gate opening late. He said they arrive from another gate and are sometimes late. I responded: I know it’s tough on you also; he answered, proudly, “What are you talking about; we’re doing the Lord’s work.