'Awarta, Habla, Huwwara, Madama, Za'tara (Tapuah)
Note: We were not detained like our friends in Falamya, and nobody asked for our ID cards, But from the behavior of the soldiers at the Habla CP to the craziness at Falamya, there is a straight and successive line, as we shall see in the report.
The separation between the people and their plots is an anomaly that makes the life of the subjects miserable and distorts the thinking of the soldiers responsible for the checkpoints through which the farmers pass to reach their plots.
13:45 – The gate is open and those entering or exiting are being checked. An elderly man with a horse and cart complains about the difficulties of the passage and asks us for a telephone number to enable him to report on the problems which arise so often. In spite of everything he claims that the extremists on both sides prevent reaching a solution.
Petahya receives a telephone call from a man who had lost the authorization for his plot, and only when he returned to the West Bank did he discover this. He probably entered by the Eliyahu gate and wasn't required to show an authorization. He asks to go back and look for it, but this was of course denied. We are unable to help him as there is no chance that he would be able to pass without an authorization. However, in the following moments the moral and conceptual damage that is done to our soldiers is manifested. According to the time table of the civil administration, the gate is supposed to be shut at 14:15. At 14:13 a man returned from his plot, but the soldier instructed him with a disdainful sign of his hand: go back, and refused to let him enter. We intervened and said: there are still two minutes left, the gate is still open. Let him pass". The answer of the soldiers was: "You are against the State of Israel". We contacted the DCO, but until we got a reaction the time was already 14:30 and the gate was closed. The man, bitter and despairing, murmurs "it will never be good" and retraced his steps. Now he will be obliged to loiter around for a few hours until the gate is opened toward evening, only because of the arbitrariness of the soldier at the CP.
The frustration is great because our presence was of no avail, but even more because of the realization that our soldiers, of the most moral army in the world, do not understand that they are dealing with a civilian population. What they do understand is that "whoever is for the State of Israel" is supposed to abuse that civilian population, and whoever tries to prevent this "is against the State of Israel". Don't they understand, even for a moment, that their own behavior is "against the State of Israel"? – that the indignation, despair and frustration which are caused solely by their arbitratiness, are the seeds of terror?
At the entrance to ‘Azzun the eternal army jeep is planted in the shade of the tree.
To its misfortune the settlement of Yitzhar lies on top of the village of Ma'adama, so that this village together with its neighbouring village Assira El Kabilia, suffer from the pitiless violence of the settlers of Yitzhar; stone throwing and the burning of their fields are a matter of routine. The settlers pass by the soldiers' post, but those do not stop them. On the contrary, soldiers run havoc in the village at night, and barriers are put up at the entrances to the village every now and then, and make it difficult for people to go to work or studies.
But the gravest problem of all is the water. The Yitzhar settlers demolished the water well situated in the south of the village. They cut pipes, broke doors and contaminated the water. The problem is that the well is situated high up, not far from Yitzhar, and every attempt of theirs to bring experts to repair the well, is met with the settlers' violence. We came there to see the well and to plan the presence of a great number of our members so that the settlers would perhaps refrain from their violence. The head of the council sent somebody to lead the way to the well, but when we walked uphill we stopped. It turned out that the way was impassable and full of stones, so that Nadim's vehicle was unable to continue. Only a jeep can drive there. We were told that there is another, shorter way, but it requires a rather long walking stretch, which would attract the Yitzhar settlers to harass us. We returned and concluded that we would try to arrange a visit with professional men and the army.
The post and the tower are manned but the entry and exit are free. On the way to Awarta we encountered a vehicle with armed Palestinian policemen. They were on their way to carry out a search and received authorization from IDF to stay at the C zone.
The inhabitants tell us that the settlers from Itamar make it difficult for them to process their fields. They go out to process them in coordination with the army, but this doesn't help, as the army isn't present. The settlers come down with their cattle, and those eat the fruit and the vegetables. They also send pigs to the fields, and those abolish the vegetables.
We entered the village of Huwwara by way of Awarta. In the village there is lively traffic, and new shops have been opened. We ate falafel at the new big falafel shop.
Few vehicles are checked by the soldiers. Two policemen and one soldier who guards them, stand at the road margins, to catch traffic offenders.