'Azzun, Eliyahu Crossing, Habla, Kufr Jammal
‘Azzun, Kufr Jammal, Habla,
Meetings with four Palestinians, old friends, who manage to describe the occupation’s injustices with commendable restraint.
10:30 Eliyahu checkpoint. Traffic flows. Many Palestinian cars are in the inspection area.
An army jeep is at the entrance to ‘Azzun, doors open, with soldiers inside.
We visit Z.’s store to unload packages we’ve brought and to shop in nearby stores. He accompanies us and says that this morning (November 11) the army inspected all cars entering and exiting, a line formed at the entrance to ‘Azzun which stretched to the center of town and many were late for work and for school.
We met with K. at the municipal building. He also described the very difficult morning. Every car entering or leaving was stopped for a slow, careful inspection.
One day during the olive harvest security personnel from Ma’aleh Shomron came to tell him he’s forbidden to remain on his land after 16:00, and showed him how far he could come with his car. Bravely he replied: “This is my land and I’ll come here whenever I wish.”
During the olive harvest they were helped by people from the International Solidarity Movement, a human rights organization. We asked about Israeli organizations. Our host said many people in ‘Azzun won’t accept help from Israelis!
Education – The extra curriculum program for pupils, of which they’re very proud, continues.
K. is polite but very busy and we had promised our visit would be brief. We left.
12:00 Kufr Jammal. We stop at Z’s shop. He tells us the village is quiet, people are focused on personal matters - making a living and family. Outside events don’t interest them. Some work in Israel (leaving at 02:30 to reach the Eyal checkpoint), farmers grow za’atar, and some work in one of the two local factories, Aqua Ice for mineral water, and Gappy for carbonated drinks. Z. sells those products. They see almost no soldiers – because there are no settlements near the village. He tells us his 17-year-old son hasn’t received a permit to work in their za’atar field. We mention Sylvia and his face lights up. He knows her, of course he does, she helped his oldest son very much. He admires her. He used to have 15 dunam. It was a long, narrow plot. The Israelis came and built fences and a road on it. Five dunam remained, where he grows olives, just for the family.
His family owned much land near Herzliya. They grew watermelons for export. Everything was taken in 1948. Many members of the family live in Tira. One of his cousins came to Kufr Jammal in 1948 on a visit, was shot by a border police soldier and killed.
A family account of land theft and killing.
Back via ‘Azzun. The army jeep is gone but a group of soldiers stands on guard in the shade.
13:00 Habla. The soldiers and MP’s are on site but they’re not hurrying to open the checkpoint.
People wait on both sides of the fence to return home and to leave the village. The gate finally opens and the first five people enter the inspection station. Three carts follow. The exit gate from Habla also opens and the first five advance toward the revolving gate. A number of vehicles go through in both directions.
We visit our friend A’s plant nursery. The cyclamen season has begun; he has an attractive assortment.
“If you start interfering with religion it’s a recipe for disaster. That’s what Israel doesn’t understand,” he says.
“Let people live. That’s all we want. Soon Abu Mazen won’t be able to control his people if you continue pouring fuel on the flames.” We’re on the verge of a holy war.