Photos: Qaryut village and the red roofs of the Eki settlement.
09:30 We left with Nadim for Qaryut, thirty kilometers south of Nablus.
We turn south on a paved road in poor condition. There’s no doubt it’s a road only Palestinians use.
The municipal building is closed; it turns out they decided to celebrate May Day early.
We run into a woman holding booklets printed by the Palestinian Ministry of Education. She tells us English classes are being held for women (we obtained the phone number of the woman in charge to find out what activities are held here). We accompanied her to N.’s grocery; he has been a member of the municipal council for seven years and council head for the past five months, on a voluntary basis, of course. Are you paid? we ask. With curses, he replies.
Hundreds of dunums of village land have been stolen in order to build the settlements of Esh Kodesh, Shvut Rachel, Shilo and Eli. The locals can’t access what little land is left to them. About a month ago they requested permission to access their lands but haven’t yet received an answer. Most of the village is in Area C, and they’re working on an expansion plan northward with the help of the Palestinian Authority. N. shows us on a map the location of the border between Area B and Area C – it runs amid the homes of the village.
The army sometimes shows up, to make its presence known, and to remind them who’s in charge.
Near the village are the remains of a church and two mosques. That area was taken from them. The occupiers have their own plans. They’ll probably find some tomb sacred to Jews, which will give the settlers an excuse to come and abuse the villagers.
The village has 3000 inhabitants. Some work in the settlements, some in Ramallah, some in Israel, which they reach via Qalqilya.
We tell them of our colleagues’ activities in the villages and about the beach days, and give them the relevant phone numbers.
Although it’s a short distance from Qariyut and A-Luban as the crow flies, the road to Highway 60 is blocked and we return northward toward Qabala and A-Sawiyya in order to turn south to A-Luban. We pick up three hitchhikers, sisters, students at the Open University in Nablus. They’ve waited more than an hour for a jitney. Transportation in the countryside is problematic.
The municipality's office is closed here too. We stop at a grocery. The village has 4000-5000 inhabitants. There are elementary schools, a middle school and a high school. Many continue to higher education. About 60 percent work in the settlements, in Israel, in Ramallah. About 40 percent are farmers, mostly growing olives.
13:00 Tapuach junction
A Palestinian vehicle has been stopped for inspection.
We returned to Highway 5, to the Cross-Shomron checkpoint. A few cars in each entry lane to Israel. A smiling religious girl at the checkpoint asks Nadim to open the trunk for inspection, and without asking us whence and whither opens the checkpoint and we go through to return to Rosh Ha’ayin.