Einabus, Hawarra, Shomron crossing, Urif, Za'tara (tapuach)
9:20 We entered the territories through the Shomron Gate. The traffic was flowing smoothly.
We drove through Kifl Hares, Kiri, and Jamain to Ein Abous. The villages were relatively quiet and nothing out of the ordinary was happening. We saw very few signs of work in the olive groves; most of the olive groves that we passed had been harvested already. Between Ein Abous and Urif we saw some men harvesting olives. We stopped to talk to them.
Nadim was friendly with one older man who had had a second hand clothing store in Ein Abous. He was finishing up the harvesting of his trees. The Palestinians want to finish the olive harvest before the real rains come. First, it is impossible to work in the rain. But it is also important to know that if the trees drink in the rain water while the olives are still on the trees the olive oil will have a yellowish color, and is considered less appetizing than the "olive" colored oil.
Two younger men were working nearby. They explained that there was not a border between the plots of land belonging to Ein Abous and Urif. People from the two villages have bought plots from each other, so there is a mixture of plots. But everyone knows which trees belong to each family.
A group of children came running to help with the olives when they saw us and our cameras. They were happy to pose for us.
One of the men, who spoke Hebrew very well, told us he usually works in Israel for a farmer on a moshav.. He pays NIS 5,000 for his permit to work in Israel. I did not ask for how long that permit was valid. Recently he was arrested at the Azzoun checkpoint coming home from work. He was taken to the police station on Dizengoff in Tel Aviv. He was never told the reason for his arrest; he believes that his permit was valid. He was kept there until 2:30 am and then they left him at the checkpoint. If he has trouble again he will contact Machsom Watch.
We asked the men if there was any trouble with Jewish settlers. On and off, all the time, was the answer. They throw stones at the people working in the groves; they steal bags of olives and ladders. This year there has been less stealing; the harvest is smaller, so the work time is shorter.
In Ein Abous Nadim stopped to talk to a friend – a woman who has a small grocery store. She told him that her second daughter is getting married and the family very much wants their older daughter to come for the wedding. The older daughter lives in Gaza with her husband who had been imprisoned and was released in the Gilad Shalit deal; they had to go to live in Gaza. Now the family doesn't know if the sister will be allowed to come to the West Bank. But if she is allowed to come, they are afraid she will not be permitted to go back to her husband in Gaza. Such dilemmas!
Huwarra checkpoint was empty, as usual. Za'atra (Tapuach) junction was completely empty. There wasn't a soldier in sight. We left through Shomron Gate.