Falamya gate, the Palestinian side
We entered toward Jayyous via Azzun. No soldiers at the entrance; the road is open. We continue via Jayyous, quiet and calm, to Falamya. Our goal – to view the Falamya agricultural gate.
There’s one improved, well-cared for road in Falamya, as well as sidewalks, ornamental trees, shade, and a large sign: US AID. The homes are also well-cared for, surrounded by greenery, but it’s only a small segment. We didn’t see the rest of the village.
We meet Abu Wissam, the elderly village head (I hope I got his name right) at the majlis, receiving medical treatment at a clinic in the building. The nurse speaks English and is full of good will, but we feel uncomfortable in the strange situation, refuse to accept the help of a “guide” eager to assist, and continue on our own to the agricultural gate.
Workers on the Israeli side are reinforcing/repairing/renovating the gate. The familiar yellow sign, which is supposed to specify the hours the gate is open, is displayed proudly but contains no information, as usual. We were told at the majlis that the gate (No. 914) opens thrice a day. From 6 to 7 AM, from 1 to 1:30 in the afternoon and from 4 to 5 PM.
We hoped to meet the guard of the well beside the gate and speak to him, but no one was there. The well’s plaza is carefully maintained. Someone has created an impressive place in which to relax. Lots of shade, metal tables, couches.
Tzur Eitan is visible on the Israeli side, opposite Kochav Ya’ir/Tzur Yigael, and to the left, on the distant hill, the settlement of Tzofim.
Famalya gate, the Israeli side
We drive toward Kochav Ya’ir/Tzur Yigael to see the gate from the Israeli side and finally determine what’s written there, because, as noted, there’s no information on the Palestinian side, not even the number of the gate. The distance, so short as the crow flies, takes almost an hour’s travel. We think about the Palestinians who daily take this route from their homes to their fields, when if they could walk straight there it would take them fifteen minutes…
There’s an old chain link fence on the eastern edge of Kochav Ya’ir, which apparently surrounds the locality. It has a large gap opening to the Palestinian fields. A dirt path leads east to Gate 914. Palestinians working in the fields greet us. Everything’s so close. For technical reasons we didn’t come near the gate. Next time we’ll begin here.
Coffee, briefly, to conclude our shift, and then home.