Eliyahu Crossing, Habla, Yasuf
A visit to Yasuf where settlers cut down ancient olive trees.
We entered the West Bank through the Shomron checkpoint and left through the Eliyahu checkpoint. We saw nothing unusual.
11:00 Tapuah junction. Five Palestinian cars are being inspected for defects by a vehicle from the Israel Ministry of Transportation. Two armed soldiers on guard, interrogate us – who are we, what are we doing here, etc.
We’re on our way to Yasuf.
Immediately after the turn to Kfar Tapuach there’s a red sign warning of danger to Israelis.
We continued to Yasuf despite the “danger.”
An affable woman joins us at the village and gets in the car to show us the way to the municipal building.
It’s an attractive new building, but the employees have gone to Ramallah. We meet S., who’s in charge of collecting taxes for electricity consumption. We have trouble understanding his explanations in Hebrew and telephone Petahya who helps us translate.
The village has 2000 residents. The occupation stole 3000 dunams of their land.
The trees were cut down last Wednesday, when snow fell. 36 ancient trees (more than 100 years old) were cut down. Last October about 80 trees were cut down.
We can’t reach the olive grove because the gate in the fence opens only twice a year – once for maintenance work in the groves and again during the harvest. The owners of the trees notified the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture but say they came, looked, counted, photographed but no one did anything. IDF soldiers also came.
The settlers harass them at every opportunity. They burned the mosque two years ago and sprayed “price tag” on the steps.
Our host takes us on a tour of the village. He points to the hilltop where there’s an IDF post, behind which are olive groves belonging to the villagers.
We drive through Emanuel and Qedumim to Highway 55 which we take to ‘Azzun. Three armed soldiers at the entrance sit on the concrete barriers which block the road. We drop off packages at A.’s store.
13:30 Habla. The gate is open; everyone who arrives goes through. Three vehicles exit the village.
The plant nursery: A. tells us that yesterday morning (Monday, Jan. 12) the checkpoint opened very late and only briefly in the afternoon and in the evening. People waited for hours to go through. In response to our question the soldiers said there had been a problem with the vehicle. Did you know? The IDF has a shortage of working vehicles. An additional way to harass the Palestinians.
Eliyahu checkpoint. We hadn’t removed the banner which is why they asked us whence and whither, and to open the trunk for inspection. And that’s not all – the security guard requests over the walkie-talkie permission to let us cross… Unbelievable.