In the wake of two notifications during the past few days we've recruited Yotam B., a journalist from Ha’aretz, to learn about two incidents we believe are worth reporting in the press.
- The road to the Bedouin locality of Abu Farda has been blocked (Chana A. and Nina S. recently reported it).
- Tree planting by a Righteous Gentile in Far’ata.
14:00 At the Alfei Menashe gas station we met A. from the plant nurseries and Yotam, a journalist from Ha’aretz. A. came to the assistance of Abu Farda, the small Bedouin locality, and volunteered his pickup truck because the road to the locality is in poor condition, impassable for a regular car.
The village is located off Highway 55, near the Bedouin village of ‘Arab al Ramadin. Members of the Abu Farda clan complained to A. about the road from Highway 55 to the village being blocked. This forces schoolchildren to walk from the main road, and makes it very difficult for trucks and pickups to deliver fodder for the cattle and sheep (which they raise to earn a living), as well as for the tractor that delivers water to the village. They don’t have running water and they are not connected to the electrical grid. When we arrived, we saw schoolchildren and women coming up to the village on foot from the highway.
It would have been possible to pave a good road from the highway down to the village, and solve the problem of the blocked entrance, which was closed because it was pronounced “dangerous.” That happened two days after they were informed about it and before their attorney was able to obtain an injunction to delay the closure. It was implemented surreptitiously, in the middle of the night, when the residents were sleeping.
The history of the village:
Members of the Abu Farda Bedouin tribe lived until 1948 in the Sharon region, in central Israel. They were expelled to their present location, which they say they purchased in 1952 – that is, they own it, and they have a kushan (certificate) to prove their ownership.
The village is quite small, with some 400 inhabitants, all members of the Abu Farda clan, led by the head of the clan.
Conditions in the village are disgraceful. The residents live in what can be described as huts, and sheep pens. All are of very poor quality.
In talking to people we learned that they used to have a pipe that brought water from a well near Qalqilya, but after an accident, when they tried to repair the pipe, the Civil Administration didn’t allow them to do so. Now they must buy water from a tanker that reaches the village after making a detour; it arrived while we were there. They say the driver, who used to arrive ten times daily, now only manages to arrive four times a day because of the closure. Every household has a water tank which the driver fills with a hose.
Later we saw a grove that should have been green, but its oranges and lemons were withered due to lack of water, because of the pipe that was damaged and couldn’t be repaired.
We were told an eight-year-old boy had been badly injured a few days before and the ambulance had difficulty reaching the village. The boy had died by the time it arrived.
Rony Perelman reported on a tree planting ceremony yesterday in the village as a result of a donation by a Dutch Righteous Gentile. We went to see the result.
The village is hilly, on the way to Qaddum. It has 700 residents who make their living primarily from agriculture, and some work in Israel. Our impression is that their condition is good (everything’s relative, of course).
Our colleagues have been in contact with the village in the past and brought embroidery to be sold.
On the way there we met M., the owner of a grocery, who was gracious enough to lead us to the area of the plantings. He said eight families each received some trees, a total of approximately 1100. We saw two plots; the branches were wrapped in white cloths to protect them from the strong winds and pests.
On our way back M. proudly showed us the plot he’d “won,” his home, and those of his family members. He boasted of his six sons and nine daughters and raised his index finger to indicate they were all from one wife.
We thanked this sweet, generous man.