Agricultural permit situation in the Tulkarm/Qalqilya area

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Miki Fisher; Translator:  Charles K.

Report on the agricultural permit situation in the Tulkarm/Qalqilya area

For approximately the past three weeks I’ve be in contact with the secretariats of a number of villages regarding their applications for agricultural permits.

Deir al-Ghusun:  As of yesterday, Sunday, 18.6.17, 100 applications had been submitted.  They haven’t received a single response.  Moreover, according to the secretary, a new application form was issued and they were asked to resubmit all the applications.  They’re very frustrated and angry.

I also spoke by phone to the liaison commander in Tulkarm who said the Israelis aren’t doing their job and not a single new permit has been received in the Tulkarm area since the strike ended.

Jayyus – Approximately 300 applications were submitted.  As of today, 2-year permits were received for two landowners.

From a conversation with the head of liaison in Qalqiliya I understood two additional permits were received for a different village.

During this time I managed to contact Yarden, who replaced David, the permits coordinator in Tulkarm, and she said that since she’s new in the job, they began reviewing the applications only last week, and they’re making every effort to do so quickly, but she says the computer system is complex.  She plans to maintain David’s policy of responding every Tuesday.  Others in the DCL never responded.  Nor could she tell me why laborers and lessees weren’t allowed to submit applications in Tulkarm, and promised to look for the answer.  I managed to speak also to the head of the permits office in Beit El, who apparently also lacks sufficient authority to provide answers.  But she asked her commander, and said there’s no change in procedures – lessees and laborers may apply for permits as in the past, according to the same procedures.  The Moked for the Defense of the Individual is also following the matter and examining the shortcomings of the regulations from a legal standpoint, and are waiting for the definitive meeting scheduled for today, 19.6.17, between the Palesinian liaison and the head of the Civil Administration or some other senior official to learn whether the Palestinian demands that were raised at the meeting held before the strike ended have been met.

I reported to Amira Hass, who’s also being updated by the Moked for the Defense of the Individual, and she’ll apparently keep following the matter and write about it at this stage.  Amira asked me in writing what I thought about another meeting with people from the Moked.  I took it upon myself to respond that I think it’s necessary (I hope that’s alright) – if only to coordinate and obtain information about the actual damage that’s caused.

I recommended, given the difficulties and the fact that the Palestinian farmers are, unfortunately, acting each individually, for themselves, to gather systematically information about the permits and the difficulties.  I believe that’s possible, because today once again each village submits the applications in bulk to the Palestinian liaison, which transmits them to the Israeli DCLs.  It’s possible to see how long it takes to receive a response, and whether responses are received to all of them, why applications are denied, what happens to the crops and the greenhouses during the interim while they’re waiting for permits, etc., etc.  At least we’ll be able to publicize the evidence about the injustice of the thefts of land and agricultural income, as well as the destruction of the culture linked in part to the changing seasons.