'Azzun 'Atma, Eliyahu Crossing, Habla, Kafr Zibad
11:00 Eliyahu crossing – traffic flows; no lines
‘Azzun – The military jeeps parks to the left of the entrance. Concrete barriers on both sides of the road. The gate is open.
Repairs to the road at the main junction.
We stopped at Z.’s shop to unload the parcels we brought him.
12:00 Kafr Zibad
A UN truck unloads vital food supplies, flour and sugar, for needy families. Supplies are distributed every two months.
We meet a resident of the village, a retired English teacher, graduate of a Jordanian university.
Kafr Zibad has 1500 inhabitants. Generally it’s pretty quiet. The army shows up infrequently. But the village lacks employment opportunities which is why there are many needy families. Our friend doesn’t understand why this is the only area under occupation. “Why are we the only ones without a state,” he asks. “All we’re asking is to live quietly. We’re ready to live with the Jews but they don’t want us. We’re people who want peace.”
So, why? You’re so right, teacher.
The municipal building, an impressive new structure, houses offices of seven villages. We meet A., the assistant to the head of the municipality, who will be appointed head next month.
Seven villages: Kafr Jamal, Jubara, Jayyus, Falamya, Kafr Aboush, Kafr Zibad, Kafr Sur.
The village has 15,000 dunums beyond the wall and the fact that the two gates they use open only three times a day, for half an hour each time, makes it very difficult for them. Nor are the roads paved, and it’s hard to reach the land without a tractor. Not everyone has a tractor, but all of them are farmers. It’s their main source of income, including A. who holds public office. The wall, checkpoints and gates embitter their lives.
They demand the gates be open all day, as was the Falamya gate.
A second problem – Permits. Old people receive crossing permits while their children and grandchildren don’t. Some are valid for a year or even two years, but often they’re only valid for two or three months. He also tells us the army doesn’t often harass them, stone-throwing isn’t a problem and overall it’s quiet. But the day-to-day difficulties cause resentment and he anticipates difficulties in response to the problems caused by the occupation. How long will they be able to suffer in silence?
When he was 14, A. worked in Holon and met good people. Coexistence between Jews and Arabs seems to him not only desirable but also possible. All his sons and daughters are university graduates, physicians and engineers living in Ramallah but afraid to visit their parents in Kafr Zibad because of the checkpoints.
Since we hadn’t made an appointment with him we promised not to take up his time but our host is full of stories and thanks us for the visit.
On the way back to ‘Azzun – lovely terraces.
13:20 ‘Azzun - The jeep is gone.
Eliyahu crossing – five vehicles being inspected.
Habla – The gate is open. Cars from the plant nursery leave. Few arrive and immediately go through.