'Awarta, Huwwara, Za'tara (Tapuah), Thu 26.5.11, Morning

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Ety K., Aliyah S. reporting
Seriously? Does this make us safer?

Translation: Aliyah S. 


9:30  Za'tara:

There was heavy traffic from Nablus going south, but there was no checking of vehicles and the traffic was moving smoothly. There were some soldiers in the center space, but we didn't see any checking.

I asked Nadim what his ideas are on the Palestinian initiative to declare an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and if he believes in a "two state" solution to the conflict. Nadim is not optimistic. He doesn't hold out much chance for the success of the "2 state" idea. He does not believe that the Palestinian initiative will bring about the desired outcome for the Palestinians. With the current Israeli government he sees nothing to hope for. He even envisages a world war erupting from the conflict in our area.      

9:45  Huwwara:

 The road into and out of Nablus was open. There were no soldiers in sight

10:15  Awarta:

We decided to return to Awarta where we had interviewed several men after the murders in Itamar, and after 5 days of closureinfo-icon by the military. Now after two months we wanted to see if things had changed there.

First we interviewed some taxi drivers at the entrance to the village. They complained that there wasn't much work. We were told that 30 men from the village are still being detained although no one knows why. One driver's son, 16 years old, was still in detention, for two months, and the family had not visited him. They really don't know where he is or what is happening to him. They believe the men are being held at the nearby military base.

The relations with the settlers are as bad as ever. As the taxis pass on the road there are settlers who throw stones; one driver's window was broken by a stone. The drivers claim that the police know who the culprits are but do nothing. In February one driver complained to the police in Huwwara. He claimed that the stone throwing was endangering their lives. The Israeli police have told the drivers that if they can't bring in a suspect then the complaint is simply filed and nothing is done about it.  We asked them about their ideas on the "two state" solution, and the Paletinian initiative. Their answers were very lukewarm; they don't have much hope for it, especially with all the settlers.

In the village we went back to the workshop (for changing vehicular oils) that we had first been to. The same men welcomed us back with tea and stories. Just the day before several farmers had gone to work their land. On their way, on the road to Yanun, settlers came to the road and threw stones at them, then the settlers stole a donkey. There was a military jeep nearby but the soldiers did nothing, and then they left. The farmers couldn't get to their land but they did get the donkey back.

There are many stories about the harassment and the stealing that the settlers perpetrate. The sheep that are owned by the settlers in Itamar are regularly grazed on Palestinian land belonging to the farmers in Awarta. The sheep eat the young growth on the trees of Awarta. This is the same area where some time ago two children from Awarta were killed. A settler was arrested but nothing came of it and he was released. The settlers say that because of this the Fogel family was murdered. Just then a man about 40 years old walked up to Nadim's empty car. He stuck his head in through the open window and shouted something incomprehensible to no one. This man had been arrested and during his detention he had been hit repeatedly on the head. Since they released him he has acted strangely and in an uncontrollable manner.

 Also here we asked the men what they think of the plan to go to the UN for a declaration of a Palestinian state. "What's the point," they said, "with all the settlers here." "It's the idea of the Fatah." Again we met with a rather pessimistic reception of the idea. Then another man walked in, sat down, said hello all around and asked what the discussion was. He launched into a heated speech, after which Nadim argued with him; then the others joined the argument. We couldn't understand anything, and they were so into the argument that we couldn't stop them for translation. Finally, Nadim gave us some idea of what was being said. This man was definitely against the idea of two states. He had some very good points as to why it would never come into being. He is in favor of one Palestinian state with citizenship for all the people, Jews and Arabs and anyone else.

On Monday evening, 30.5.11, there was a discussion at the Coalition of Women for Peace with Tamar Gozansky arguing for "two states" and Sahar Francis from Adameer, arguing for one state for all its citizens. A very lively and loud argument ensued. Both Israelis and Palestinians, Jews and Arabs, are very much divided on this issue.