מג'דל בני פאדל
We left Rosh Ha-Ayin at 09:30 for the village of Majdal Bnei Fadal, where IDF soldiers had uprooted saplings in one of the village’s fields a week ago. There was minimal military presence along the road. An army jeep was parked on the hill overlooking Brukin, and at the Tapuach Junction there was a police car, and several soldiers were standing in the bus stop.
10:10 – Majdal
We met with the secretary at the offices of the village council, a new and well-kept building at the entrance to the village. Luckily for the village residents, most of the settlers in the neighboring settlement of Migdalim, Ma'aleh Ephraim, and Gitit, are not violent. However, the army is present, just to remind them that they are under occupation.
This time it involved a resident of the village who has a field of 9 dunams (about 2.25 acres), located in Area C. When he began to plant the field, soldiers came and prevented him from working. He appealed to the courts, and the secretary of the town council showed us a document from the Land Registry Bureau dated from 1938, attesting to the resident's ownership of the land. We drove to the field, and saw scattered holes which had been dug for planting; the saplings had been pulled out and tossed by the side of the road. Evidently the army had not bothered to wait for the results of the trial, and soldiers arrived at the small field, pulled up the trees, and took them away so that they could not be used.
Israeli Jewish mothers should know how their sons, who are serving in the army, are contributing to the security of the country while serving in the occupied territories.
15,000 dunams (3250 acres) of land have been confiscated from 3000 residents of the village for the benefit of the settlement of Maaleh Ephraim. The small settlement of Gitit is also situated on land that was confiscated from the village. Only 5,000 dunams (1250 acres) of land that has been built upon and 10,000 dunams (2,500 acres) of agricultural land remain for the use of the residents of the village. According to the division in the Oslo Agreement, most of the buildings in the village are located in Area B, but a few houses, located in the outer margin of the inner circle of the village, are designated as Area C (Israeli jurisdiction). The owners of these homes have already received demolition orders and have appealed to the courts. Luckily, none of the demolition orders have been carried out so far. Aside from the army’s violent incursion last week, the situation in the village is satisfactory, relatively to other villages. Their neighbors reside on land belonging to the village and do not harass them.
Some of the residents of Majdal make a living working in the Palestinian Authority and their salaries are paid by the PA. Others work in various settlements. About 200-300 people, including residents of Kusra and Jurish, cross the checkpoint at Maaleh Ephraim without any problems. Half a year ago a well has beeen dug near Nablus, and since then there has been no shortage and no need to fill tanks or to collect rainwater. There is also electricity, but people must pay higher prices for it than they do in Israel.
There are two high schools in the village and one elementary school with one 5th-8th grades. The school for first to fourth graders has mixed classes for girls and boys. We met the cute kindergarten children on the tour, who were accompanied by a teacher wearing black and with her head covered – a rare sight in the West Bank.
We ask: why did the army contribute to the violence here, which has not been carried out by the settlers? What doesthe brutal uprooting of trees contribute to Israel's security? Is it part of the soldiers' duty to take part in such confrontations?