Ariel checkpoing. Rosh Hashana eve

Observers: 
Irit Segoli and Nurit Popper (reporting and photographing); Translator:  Charles K.
Sep-9-2018
|
Morning

Palestinian lands trapped within the Ariel settlement.

Accompanying Kifl Harith farmers to their lands trapped within the Ariel settlement, invited by Engaged Dharma.

For a number of weeks Palestinians from Haris have been prevented from reaching their lands, access to which is through the Ariel settlement checkpoint.

A discussion ensued between the uniformed personnel who physically blocked access with their bodies and the Palestinians and activists.  For two hours we waited for an appropriate response to the farmers who owned the land.  The officer notified us that, as Israelis, we’re able to go through the checkpoint and reach the lands.  But the landowners are required, by a new order, for a permit which they have not yet been granted.  Meanwhile, civilian vehicles went through the checkpoint and noticed the unusual gathering.  Settlement youths arrived and mingled with us, taking advantage of the situation to draw attention to themselves, particularly from the cameras.  Finally they were chased away, apparently by the army.  While we waited, more and more soldiers and armed security personnel arrived.  The presence of so many activists apparently had an effect and after about two hours a senior officer arrived and spoke with the farmers.  Finally, after an exhausting discussion, it was agreed they could enter the area after the holidays but they’re required to present documents proving they own the land.  When the officer was told that the security coordinator doesn’t allow them to enter, he replied:  The security coordinator follows orders.  We’ll follow-up to see whether the “orders” are followed.

 

 

 

The Ariel settlement’s security coordinator
The Ariel settlement’s security coordinator.
Photo: 
נורית פופר
Signage at the entrance to the Ariel settlement – “A town where life is healthy and good”
Signage at the entrance to the Ariel settlement – “A town where life is healthy and good”
Photo: 
Nurit Popper

Until three months ago, landowners from Hars and Kifl Harth had unlimited access to their lands adjoining the Ariel settlement, even though entry was through the settlement’s checkpoint.  Colleagues who’d gone there reported that the lands were very well kept.  After a new security coordinator was appointed farmers have been denied entry to the area.

Three weeks ago, Dharma Engaged undertook to join farmers heading for the cultivated land.  As they approached the area a violent confrontation erupted during which Palestinians attempting to go through the checkpoint were injured.  We learned of the incident from A., our friend in Hars, who’s very involved in community actions among the area’s villages.  Last Sunday Dharma Engaged repeated its undertaking.  We accepted A.’s invitation to join them.  The plan was for a larger number of persons who were not Palestinians to accompany the farmers.  The activists met next to Kifl Harth at 08:00, Rosh Hashana Eve, the last day of the year 5778.  There were about 25 people from Dharma Engaaged, Combatants for Peace, internationals and Machsom Watch.  This time the Civil Administration was notified in advance of the intention to reach the area.  We drove until we approached the entrance to the settlement.  The Palestinian family also arrived:  the landowner, his sons and nephews whose father had died and who are his legal heirs.  Soldiers and police awaited us.  Military and police vehicles were parked next to the entrance to the fields.

Armed soldiers at the entrance to the Ariel settlement
Armed soldiers at the entrance to the Ariel settlement
Photo: 
Nurit Popper
A discussion ensued between the uniformed personnel and the Palestinians and activists
A discussion ensued between the uniformed personnel and the Palestinians and activists
Photo: 
Nurit Popper

A discussion ensued between the uniformed personnel who physically blocked access with their bodies and the Palestinians and activists.  For two hours we waited for an appropriate response to the farmers who owned the land.  The officer notified us that, as Israelis, we’re able to go through the checkpoint and reach the lands.  But the landowners are required, by a new order, for a permit which they have not yet been granted.  Meanwhile, civilian vehicles went through the checkpoint and noticed the unusual gathering.  Settlement youths arrived and mingled with us, taking advantage of the situation to draw attention to themselves, particularly from the cameras.  Finally they were chased away, apparently by the army.  While we waited, more and more soldiers and armed security personnel arrived.  The presence of so many activists apparently had an effect and after about two hours a senior officer arrived and spoke with the farmers.  Finally, after an exhausting discussion, it was agreed they could enter the area after the holidays but they’re required to present documents proving they own the land.  When the officer was told that the security coordinator doesn’t allow them to enter, he replied:  The security coordinator follows orders.  We’ll follow-up to see whether the “orders” are followed.

The landowner and his sons discussing access arrangements with the military commander
The landowner and his sons discussing access arrangements with the military commander
Photo: 
Nurit Popper

Two maqams are located in Kifl Harth, sacred to all the monotheistic faiths and sites of mass pilgrimages under the army’s auspices.  Our reports about them appear on the website.