Jama'in, Za'tara (Tapuah), Zeta
Serious complaints by Zeita inhabitants and a-Sawiya people about closures and/or delays in Za’tara Junction. Zeita people who used togo to Shechem (Nablus) via Huwarra in 15 minutes are today forced to take a circuitous
route which means that the trip takes them now more than 1 hour.
The situation is especially serious in the morning and afternoon hours when more settlers use the Huwarra-Shechem road. Moreover the road is now being repaired, and the Army does not allow the Palestinians to use it. On days of terrorist attacks there is an additional hardship: at the Za’tara Junction Palestinian vehicles undergo very long searches.
10.20.ZA’TARA JUNCTION (Tapuach).
The place is quiet. Soldiers on duty in the observation tower. At the hitchiker station ( the trempiada)some settlers await transport and soldiers guard them with drawn weapons.
10.30 a-SAWIYA. Following an information which our acquaintance S.gave Aliyah, we planned to meet him and hear about problems at the Za’tara Junction. But S. was away from the village and the secretary of the Council whom we had planned to visit was already on his way out when we arrived. In a telephone conversation with Aliyah today, S. explained that the repairs in the Huwarra-Shechem road are seriously hampering Palestinians travelling between their villages. During the peak hours 7—9 am and during the afternoon hours, the Army closes the road, as A. puts it “for the settlers’ benefit and the Palestinians’ loss.” During those hours they are forced to make a big detour and to wait for a long time at the Za’tara Junction.
The headmistress of the kindergarten, which is located in front of the building of Zeita Council, invited us to visit. It has 3 classes and a playroom for the small children. In two of the rooms the older ones learn a bit of English and their abc’s. A talented young girl from the village has painted lovely scenes on the class walls.
The kindergarten headmistress, proud to show us the classes, told us that they receive donations from different organisations, including World Vision—as a sign near the awning over the playgroun proclaims. We noticed our hostess’ disappointment when we explained that we are not a philanthropic organisation.
Tsippi interviewed the headmistress. She will send her story separately to our site.
11.45 am. al-LUBBAN-a-SHARQIYAH. We hoped that this time the building of the madjeles (the council of a small village) would be open, but as has happened duringthe past year, the door was closed and there was no sign of any activity. What was very noticeable this time was the pervading prayer at the mosque broadcast by a loudspeaker throughout the village.
12.00 ZA’TARA. The Tapuach Junction was almost empty, no soldiers were to be seen.
12.15 pm. ZEITA. Some of our haverot know the viillage well from three years of joint activities with the women there. This time we wanted to meet A., a member of the Council.
The Council building is now used as a Clinic, and the office of the Council has been moved to an adjoining building, a kind of tunnel, which was redesignedand adapted to new needs. A., like the other women there, was very pleased to meet us.
She was very busy taking care of village affairs, but in spite of that she found time to sit and talk to us.
Together with two more women, she is a member of the Council: altogether three women and four men. She works hard and without pay. Joking with Nadim, she says: “the women in the Council work as is expected from the men, and the opposite is also true…” Between sentences to us, she quickly gave some instructions, and attended to several people who needed her help—all that during our meeting.
The serious problem which disturbs the villagers most is the closure of the roads they used to take, andwhich shortened the time to reach Shechem. According to A., till now the way from Zeita through Huwarra to Shechem took 15 minutes. Now it takes more than 1 hour, and sometimes even longer. On their way home from Shechem, they are forbidden to pass through Huwarra, and instead are forced to go through Awarta, and Beita to Road 60 in the direction of Za’tara Junction.
On days of terrorist attacks, very thorough inspections are carried out at Za’tara Junction, causing either closures lasting hours or else very long waits.
We asked her to update us about the usual issues. The Army passes from time to time through the village, putting up sudden closures on the road between Zeita, Qira and Deir Istiyah. But in general, it now enters the village less often.
The Shabach (Israel Security Service) also comes to the village less frequently. There are also less attempts to mobilise youngsters as collaborators. But from time to time there are arrests of wanted men.
There are no settlers in the area.
Nevertheless, there is anxiety about the future of lands which are near Deir Istiyah. Most of the village’s lands are close to Zeita and nothing prevents farmers from working on them. However, some families also possess lands near Deir Istiyah. Those are the lands they are afraid they might lose, because of the general situation of the territories in the neighbourhood of Deir Istiyah.