‘Izbet Salman, Beit 'Amin
We came to ‘Izbet Salman during a period of mourning – the day following the death of our host’s uncle. He told us he’d had a heart attack because his honor had been impugned; he couldn’t access his lands because he wasn’t able to walk the long distance from the checkpoint and back again, and because of the offensive way the “children” (the soldiers at the checkpoint, he explained) had treated him.
3 agricultural gates are supposed to serve residents of the villages, which are separated from their lands by the fence near Oranit. The Palestinians complained again that the arrangements for opening the checkpoints violated their rights.
The still-unsolved problem of sewage, which flows into their lands from the Sha’arei Tiqwa settlement, is harming to them physically and insulting.
The head of the village told us, in Hebrew: “Today the Palestinians’ two greatest problems are poverty and humiliation. I’m against violence, but you can’t imagine what humiliation can make people do.”
10:30 ‘Izbet Salman (Khirbet Salman)
We met N., whom we knew from previous visits. He greeted us with the sad news that his uncle had died, whom we had also met when we visited in the summer. N. said his uncle (aged 74) died because his honor had been besmirched; he wasn’t able to reach his lands because he couldn’t walk the distance to them from the checkpoint and because the insulting behavior of the “children” (the soldiers at the checkpoint). He had a heart attack.
N. explained how important it is to treat people, especially the elderly, with respect.
We sat with N. in his courtyard. Again he told us how he has been forbidden to work in Israel, since 1996. Today he’s almost 50, hasn’t been convicted of anything, no member of his family has ever been imprisoned, but all his efforts to cancel his prohibition haven’t succeeded.
After we’d visited him during the summer he contacted Sylvia for instructions. He called repeatedly but the message box was full, apparently because of the many messages. We encouraged him to fax the necessary material directly, hoping it will be possible to help him.
Meanwhile additional men from his family joined us. Two youths told us they’d appealed to the Supreme Court to cancel their blacklisting, using an attorney who charged them a lot of money. One appeal succeeded. The young man received a work permit valid for three years (it’s renewed every three months). The other didn’t succeed. The court didn’t accept his attorney’s argument and the blacklisting remained in force. He, too, told us that no members of his family have ever been jailed or convicted.
11:30 Beit Amin.
We met Muhammad and N., the head of the village, at the municipal building, after making an appointment. We know both of them from previous visits. They began by complaining again about the sewage flowing from the settlement of Sha’arei Tiqwa into the Palestinian villages in the area.
The problems don’t get solved. A few months ago the authorities in Sha’arei Tiqwa tried to stop the flow but they succeeded only temporarily. Again the terrible stink, and the huge puddles that prevent Palestinians from reaching the Beit Amin checkpoint in a humane manner and humiliates them. It’s the same story repeatedly: endless appeals to the Palestinian DCL who contacts the Israeli DCL, who contacts the authorities in Sha’arei Tiqwa, over and over again.
In the past the people from Beit Amin have told us they have good relations with settlers in Sha’arei Tiqwa. They didn’t say that this time.
N. sounded as if he despaired of a solution. He said, “Today the Palestinians’ two biggest problems are poverty and humiliation. I’m opposed to violence, but you can’t imagine what humiliation can make people do.”
We asked for an update regarding the agricultural crossings and their hours.
Three agricultural gates are intended to serve residents of the villages separated from their lands in the area of the fence near Oranit. This time as well the Palestinians complained that the arrangements for opening the gates violated their rights.
The opening hours are insufficient and inconvenient. The location of the checkpoints forces the Palestinians to walk a long distance on foot before reaching their lands. The gates don’t always open as scheduled; sometimes the farmers wait to no avail in the morning and must return home.
Our visit to the agricultural gates and update on their hours – west to east:
Jal’oud checkpoint 1419 opposite Jal’oud village (also called Abu-Salman).
The residents say it is supposed to open between 06:30-07:00, 12:00-13:00, 15:00-16:00. We arrived at 13:05; the gate was closed. We saw no Palestinians or soldiers there or nearby (the gate might not have opened at all. We’ll check next time).
Beit Amin checkpoint 1447 (Access to which is through the puddle of sewage)
The soldiers say is supposed to open between 07:45-08:15; 12:45-13:00; 15:30. This time, a few laborers went through at 12:55. The soldiers politely gave us the hours when it’s open.
Al Huwwara checkpoint (Ha’zeytim, next to Sha’arei Tiqwa)
Opens only during the month of the olive harvest.