'Azzun, Mas'ha

Place: 
Observers: 
Raya Y., Karin L., reporting and photographing
18/02/2018
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Morning

11:00 At the entrance to Azun there is a military vehicle. Soldiers are checking a truck and after an interval of a minute or two they signal to waiting Palestinian vehicles which stand patiently behind the truck and to us to overtake it.

I had fixed beforehand a meeting with H. at the municipality of Azun, after Fithiya wrote about the advance notice some locals had received about the confiscation of their plots for the purpose of building a new quarter at Alfey Menashe. He welcomed us and said that the issue was 52 dunams belonging to 7 families. He was all the time busy answering phone calls and signing documents and after showing us a few orders which I photographed, we suggested to meet at some other time. 

We had hoped that he would be able to help us locating seasonal checkpoints or phone numbers of other villages. He only said that the Azun inhabitants had plots near Jayous and Karney Shomron. He himself is unable to reach his plots. We tried phoning our acquaintance at Marda but he was unavailable. We made an appointment with  H.A. at the municipality of Messha to arrive at the Messha North 1634 CP, which was due to be opened between 13:25 and 13:40, according to the table which we had received from the Passages Officer.

We drove by Thulath and Saniriya. The road has been renewed  and there are two roundabouds which regulate the traffic. From there to Bidiya and Messha. The direct road which in the past had connected the neighbouring villages Sanniriya and Messha is now disrupted at two places by the dividing fence, which forms an enclave for the Etz Ephraim settlement. One must therefore drive now many kilometres by way of Bidiya.

At the municipality of Messha H. waited for us with K. We asked about the agricultural CP near his house which is supposed to be opened every day, according to the list we had received. He didn’t see it being opened.

K. said that the week before the Messha North 1634 CP had not been opened on Sunday neither on Monday or Tuesday, contrary to the information we had received that it would be opened every day between the 11 to the 22 of March. On Wednesday it had been opened at eight in the morning, and many farmers who wished to return at noon waited near the gate which was due to be opened at half past one till four o’clockOn Thursday too the farmers passed in the morning and the CP wasn’t opened on time at noon and the farmers waited till 14:30.

Behind the Council Building
Behind the Council Building
Photographer: 
Karin L
Playground at Messha
Playground at Messha
Photographer: 
Karin L

There are about 3000 inhabitans at Messha. All own agricultural plots but they are also working at other occupations. Beyond the separation fence they grow only olives. We admired the playground when we entered the council building by a side entrance.

H. stressed that the serious problem is the Oranit gate (1474) which isn’t opened at all by army order. He too, like the inhabitants of Azun Atma, asked us to help change the army’s decision. It is impossible to punish all the farmers because a few pieces of iron had been stolen. (as has already been reported the army had decided to puhish all the inhabitants of Azun Atma because of the claim that near the gate 1474, pieces of iron which were intended to “organize” the queue had been cut and stolen).

13:25 We drove with H. to the Messha North CP. As he had anticipated there is nobody around, no Palestinians who must have understood that the CP won’t be opened at that hour, nor the army. We waited about 15 minutes and went back.

View on the village of Messha from North Messha CP
View on the village of Messha from North Messha CP
Photographer: 
Karin L
 North Messha CP (1634) closed at 14:30
North Messha CP (1634) closed at 14:30
Photographer: 
Karin L