Eyal Area, Meeting with M. and S., Jayyus
We decided to meet with the farmers and the Palestinian intermediary, in reference to Israel stopping the issue of permits to the farmers. We wanted to hear directly from the farmers their requests and demands.
We met M. to hear his story. As we stood talking an army jeep stood behind my car, then it went a bit down the road where a lorry delivering sand to M's land. After a while the DCO's jeep arrives and another vehicle with soldiers. M. had ordered this sand so he could revive the soil and replant his field. Previously when the sand was delivered, the Secretary of Zur Igal (which is just above M.'s land) photographed the delivery of the sand and stopped all work on the land. M. told us that the Israeli Matak and Palestinian (A. & W.) told him that now, less than 5 dunams of land will not be issued permits. This is something new, up to now if you could prove ownership of land permits were issued from 1/3 dunam. M. has applied but is still waiting, even though the land belongs to him, and he has a total of 14 dunams, he needs the approval for authorization from the Israeli authority.
I just spoke to M. this evening he told me, 2 lorries were taken to Sofim and are being held there, the drivers were released.
3 weeks ago, M. was told by the Secretary of Zur Igal all activity on his land was stopped because it is too close to Zur Igal, the road was closed so no one can reach M.'s land. M.'s land was there long before Zur Igal.
2 weeks ago there were 2 women from Zur Igal's council; they were taking photos, complaining that rubbish was dumped on the land. Last Wednesday M.'s brother told him that someone came to dump rubbish on the land, M. called and had it removed. M. was told by neighbor farmers that there were people coming to photograph his land at different times. M. wants to revive his land and replant lemon trees, he wants to apply for a new request, but the Palestinian side will not take his application because they don't want to deal with the new Israeli regulations.
M. told me about the water problem, which he pays 120 shekels per hour because there is no electricity to hook up to; he has been waiting for 8 years for approval from the Israeli side, being told it will be ok. With the proper electricity the cost of water would be 45 shekel per hour.
N., owner of the nursery and hot house just below Zur Igal, was just notified that he has till 30/5/2017 and then the nursery and hot house will all be removed. His attorney told him that there is no permit for this type of business; the land is only for agriculture. According to the pamphlet of regulations, Israel is telling the Palestinian farmers what to plant and how much and according to that they'll receive permits (or not).
10:30 Meeting with Farmers and Palestinian intermediary.
Mr. S. firstly praised Machsom Watch and our efforts for the people of Palestine; he added how he has heard from the farmers how different the soldiers act toward the Palestinians when MW women are present at the checkpoints.
Mr. S. spoke of the new instructions and regulations for the Palestinian farmers requesting permits to enter their agricultural land, newly dated 43 page pamphlet dated 27 February 2017. Of course Mr. S., his fellow workers and the farmers' objections to these regulations are their infringing on the farmers daily livelihood. The regulations are the same as before, but now Israel is implementing them, as to the amount of land, type of crops, and size of land.
Some of the points in the pamphlet that Mr. S. pointed out which particularly stand out.
- Wife or members of family need permits as workers; they have to apply for a worker's permit, which takes away from permits for workers. This causes problem especially during the olive harvest, taking up permits for the workers, which are badly needed.
- Specific days allowed to plant
- No permit is issued to anyone if he doesn't have more than 350 sq. meters (this was stated previously but not implemented)
- Under the Turkish and English rule the amount of land was for the entire family, then with the inheritance it was divided so each member of the family had individually smaller plot, but the total amount of land is within the amount to warrant permits. Less than 5 dunams Israel won't give permits.
- Israel stops giving permits for cars, tractors yes
- Expired permits cannot be renewed, this will results in income reduction, and land will be confiscated. It’s the right of every person to access his land, right to plant what he wants on his own land.
Mr. S. says he doesn't have to accept the Israeli restricted policies.He cannot help the farmers achieve their goals; emergency measures must be taken to help us help the farmers.In 2002 with the construction of the wall, up till now we managed to help the farmers; with these new rules and regulations it is becoming impossible.Mr. S. is worried about the actions of the farmers in the future. Just today, 8/5/2017, the farmers demonstrated outside the DCO, they faced rifles, there was no firing.Mr. S. feels like he is losing control to assist the farmers, "the best I can do is to refuse the Israeli regulation"
13:20 – 13:40 Jayyus
Truck passed with cartons to collect crops for the farmers.Tractor with farmers, a man and woman who arrived in their private car, walked across the gate to spray 5 dunams of olive trees.
Returned 2 tractors, and six farmers.
The soldiers were on time in the afternoon, but the morning they were an hour late.A.A. an elderly man who employs 8 workers, told us that the soldiers' tardiness cost him an 8 hour day's work, his workers were at the gate on time, it wasn't their fault for the hour lost.