Jama'in, Zeita (Jama'in)
MAIN PROBLEM: For the Council the most pressing problem is their one million shekels debt. This is because they no longer receive the return of the taxes that the Israeli government charges the Palestinians. Netanyahu has refused to hand over these taxes to the Palestinian Authority. He claims that the PA gives this money to the terrorists who are in prison. This makes life for the villages very difficult. “How can we solve these problems?” said H. “We are abandoned. Do we belong to the Nablus or to the Salfit area? We get thrown from one to the other. There was a wealthy man who used to donate money for the village. He died 3 years ago, and now we get no money at all. For 3 years we haven’t been able do anything to improve conditions in our village.”
WORK IN ISRAEL: Those villagers who work in Israel can manage. H. has a fruit and vegetable shop in the village, but he just barely makes a living. For 20 years he has been asking for a permit to work in Israel and has been refused. When he was a youth he was arrested by the IDF for throwing stones at the soldiers. He was held in prison for a few weeks. That is the reason given for not allowing him to work in Israel. He also cleans the school, but doesn’t get paid for it. He has asked the PA for the payment but they say there is no money.
WATER: There are problems with water only in the summer. Their water comes from Mekorot which doesn’t allot enough for the summer months.
HELP: The villagers do not need help with the olive harvest and they do not have problems with settlers. There are no settlements near the village, so they do not have those two problems.
But they would like help with getting games, toys and materials for the schools and kindergartens in the village. We promised to look into the possibility of gathering toys and games for them.
END THE CONFLICT: We asked H. how he sees the end of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. “I just want to live. I want a permit to work and to make a decent living.”
Jama'in is a much larger place than Zeita; it is really a small town. We spoke with I., a woman who is the secretary of the Council, and is also a driving teacher.
Jama'in is not a poor town. The sandstone hills around the town have some of the best quarries in the area. The stone is sold all over Palestine and Israel, and even outside the country. The town also has an industrial zone.
PROBLEMS: Even though they are close to Ariel and Tapuach settlements, the farmers of Jama'in do not have everyday problems with settlers. But problems do occur— mainly during the olive harvest in October. The settlers sometimes try to chase the farmers out of their plots. The settlers also bring their goats to graze in the groves where they eat the tree leaves.
WATER: They get water from Mekorot, but they pay the PA. Water is no longer a problem for this town: they built a water tower reservoir.
Schools: There are no problems here.
MEDICAL SERVICES: There is one clinic in the town which opens only 2 or 3 days a week. The biggest problem is that there is only one regional hospital in Nablus providing services for an area of about 10,000 people. The hospital is too small, there isn’t enough equipment, and not enough doctors. Young Palestinians do study medicine but there isn’t sufficient financial support for more medical positions. Three days before our visit, a woman died of cancer because she couldn’t get the medical care she needed. She was only 60 years old and left behind several children.
This insufficiency and inadequate medical care is a problem for most— if not all—of Palestine.