Azzun, Zawiya – the seamline zone
‘Azzun –09:00 We meet M.A. , the general manager of the city council and N. A., the mayor.
Approximately 150 families have applied for permits to enter their farmland in the seamline zone on the other side of the fence, permits for the landowners, the workers and various means of transportation (motor vehicles, wagons and donkeys).
They use the following gates: the Ma'ale Shomron Gate which is situated in Ma'ale Efrayim itself. The gate at Zawiya, Khirbet Isla 1231, South Juyyus 977 (mainly orchards) and gate 1037, the Tzofim Gate.
The applications are sent directly to the Palestinian DCO and therefore the city council is unable to perform any follow up. The mayor himself is prevented from receiving a permit. His land (50 dunam) was uprooted and fenced off 10 years ago. In the past he was imprisoned for having tried to reach his land.
The most common claim is that only old people and children receive permits. The mayor seems to have given up hope and does not believe that he will return to his land. He also says that the gates have to be open all the time so that the farmers will be able to work their land.
Zawiya – 11:00 We meet M.A., the public relations coordinator at the municipality. Out of 120 applications for permits 90 have been approved. Those which have not been approved have been sent again. Other applications have been sent not through the municipality. The landowners receive permits. The gates are Magen Dan (a small number of applicants)and South ‘Azzun. No land is irrigated.
Magen Dan – In a number of cases, the women were sent back to ‘Azzun with the donkeys and the tools at the end of the work day (4 months ago), the opening and closing hours are not always according to schedule and sometimes the opening hours are too short. Not all the farmers have enough time to pass through. Moreover, it happens that the residents in Elkana bully the Palestinians without the interference of the army.
When we called the Israeli DCO we received a very clear declaration: "that the army and the police will always be present and that all the fruit will be picked and delivered to its destination, we will make sure that there will be no problems!"
The second gate at Magen Dan, opposite Zawiya, does not always open which means that the workers have to go a much longer way. We suggested that the village management hand in a formal request, and in case of refusal we would try to find out why.
Water – The residents in Zawiya have asked to lay a pipeline from the well in ‘Azzun to their land in the seamline zone, but until now their request has been refused. We suggested that they try again and submit a formal request through the Palestinian authorities so that we will be able to help in case of refusal.