We left Rosh Ha’ayin at 14:10. There were no military vehicles by the roadside between Shomron checkpoint and Za’tara junction. At Za’tara junction we saw a military jeep in a military compound, and Border Police soldiers at the hitchhiking station toward Ramallah.
From Za’tara junction we again took a different route, through the villages of Yatma, Qablan and Talfit.
We reached Jurish at 14:55 and S. arrived at 15:00 to open the center.
Dvorka and Nurit went with Nadim for a tour of the villages and I remained with a small group of girls for our English club. After not having met for a month, because the girls were studying for their high school exams, we were all excited to renew our connection and our classes.
We again sang the song we sang last month, Are You Going to Scarborough Fair?
We learned Yesterday by Paul McCartney; the girls knew about The Beatles.
We talked about “yesterday” as a metaphor, not necessarily as the day before today but as something from the past. The idea of “yesterday” as a metaphor expanded our discussion about what’s important in life. Some of the girls said you had to live and enjoy the moment, and some said the past is important, has historical value, and its lessons must be learned to plan the future.
We paraphrased Paul McCartney’s idea:
I began with the sentence, “Yesterday I was narrow-minded; today I’m an open-minded person.” This inspired the girls to discuss changes in the way they see the world and in their lives.
S. presented her “yesterday”: “Yesterday, I thought that all the Jewish people are bad, today I think that there are good people among the Jewish people.”
R. presented her “yesterday”: “Yesterday our village wasn’t progressing; today’s it’s progressing step-by-step.”
All the girls agreed: “Yesterday we didn’t want to learn Hebrew. Today we want to learn Hebrew to compromise and to connect with Israelis, and Jews should also learn Arabic.”
Dvorka: While the activity was under way with the girls in Jurish we went on a tour with Nadim.
Since all the village’s municipality offices are already closed at this hour, we decided to try to meet and talk to shop owners or villagers.
In the vegetable store on the main road we met G., a young man who speaks fluent English, who doesn’t live in the village but has decided to shop here. When he saw us he immediately identified himself as a “freelancer” working with various organizations, primarily with youth, in empowerment, leadership, “learning about the ‘other’, multiculturalism and conflict resolution. He said he’s very familiar with Machsom Watch and with our website. He’s also met with various international organizations and participates in workshops and conferences in Cyprus involving different national groups.
We asked his opinion about whether and how the results of the Israeli election have affected Palestinian attitudes about cooperating with Israelis. His unequivocal response was that there had been no change. He himself is very supportive of opportunities to meet and cooperate.
We spoke to the shop owner and to a friend who sat with him. We also asked about the settlers. They both corrected our misconception. What happened more than a year ago, when settlers entered Qusra and were confronted courageously, had only begun here. The residents of Qusra chased them from the village. In fleeing they reached the neighboring village of Kariyut. There (not in Qusra, as the media has reported) they’d been beaten and “trapped” until they were handed over to the army.
This isn’t the first time the soldiers don’t even know the name of the location in which they’re operating.
The village has 3000 residents and is located between Majdal to the north and Jaloud and Kariyut to the west. We met two Palestinians on the road next to their home. When we stopped to ask some questions, with Nadim’s help, the same thing happened that usually does, we were invited to sit with them. One, N., spoke Hebrew.
He and his friend told us that Duma is the only village in the area whose lands haven’t been stolen, except for a very small area next to the main road. On the other hand, extensive portions of land belonging to Jaloud and Kariyut were stolen by settlers from Eish Kodesh, led by a man named Boaz, who came to the area five years ago from Kiryat Arba and established a settlement – a few mobile homes, one building and much harassment and abuse. In response to our question he said the army and settlers don’t enter Duma but they’re always found on the hill opposite, between the village and Kariyut.
A. told us his own story. He worked for a few years in Har Adar, in construction. This January he fell from the scaffolding at work, broke his leg so badly that he still needs crutches, and was hospitalized at Hadassah for a few days. His Israeli employer didn’t deny he’d worked for him, and even informed the hospital that he was insured, but since then has ignored him, and his insurance compensation has disappeared (for now?) along with his employer.
We suggested he contact “Kav LaOved.” Nadim’s daughter is an attorney, working with the organization. Nadim and N. exchanged telephone numbers. Hopefully they’ll be able to help.
17:10 We left to return to Rosh Ha’ayin.