'Anabta, Beit Iba, Thu 23.10.08, Morning
The checkpoints are fairly empty. Few pedestrians or cars. Everywhere are people harvesting the olives and the security coordinator of Einav explains to us that they are on Palestinian land.
7.50 A few people wait at the exit of Nablus and at the entrance the few who are there are not checked. At the exit the checking is as usual and people put on their belts and organize themselves afterwards. When we arrive an Israeli Palestinian is detained at the exit. It is suspected that his papers are forged but he is freed after 5 minutes. There is a dog trainer at the car lane.
8.00 A van is not allowed to leave Nablus and turns back; because of the fence we cannot see what is happening. It seems he has no permit to leave. Someone else is not allowed to enter evidently for the same reason. It seems that they keep trying their luck.
When we go to the car lane a soldier comes up and asks us to leave because we are bothering them. We replied that we are allowed to be there and in any case we are prepared to speak to the commander. He goes to him (we did not ask the name). After we had spoken to the commander he saw no reason for us to leave. While we were there the amount of cars waiting came to 10.
At Anabta at 9.30 there were no lines in either directions. Some metres from the road we see a family picking olives and go up to them. During the conversation and while we were drinking tea with them we were told that on Wednesday one of the family went to pick olives at a grove next to the settlement of Einav. The guard sent him away even though he had a permit and the soldiers at the checkpoint had told him that he could go to the land. He had been told to come on Sunday. We phoned Zecharia, of the Rabbis for Human Rights, so as to understand what exactly had happened, as my Arabic is very poor, and also to try to help him. I am sending the details to other organizations in the Harvest Coalition. Maybe they can help.
We went up to Einav to find out what had happened. There were some soldiers at the checkpoint and an army vehicle. The guard was very polite and phoned someone to say that there were women from Machsomwatch who had questions about the olive picking. He said that the coordinator wouold come to speak us and after a few minutes he arrived, Mayer. He too was very polite as if they had received an order to be so and explained to us that there are Palestinians who have groves within the settlement. Of course this is not in the settlement but in the vast expanse of land which is said to be within the limits of the settlements. The people are very "pleasant" and if there is a permit and the Palestinian owns the land and shows them that this is so they allow him according to what the permit states to go into HIS grove. They EVEN allow his family to go in to help him. Now even there are two families picking.
It was amazing. The coordinator simply tells us that the settlement is on Palestinian lands and they, the invaders of the area, ask to see the permit of the owner of the land and only then allow him in. Another absurdity of the occupation.
We asked how they enter the settlement and were told that there is a special gate which the army opens for them in the morning and the afternoon. When we asked if we could go in to meet them he did not allow this and when we asked to get to the gate he said we would need a jeep to do so. The Palestinians take out the olives on donkeys.
Later we saw a road going up and when we went up to look at the area we saw the houses of Einav and the fence which encompasses the enormous area which is around it. We did not go to the gate because the road was truly very bad.