'Azzun, Haris, Tue 18.6.13, Morning

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Natalie Cohen, Naomi Bentsur (reporting), Nadim (driving)

Translator:  Charles K.


09:00  We left from the Rosh Ha’Ayin train station.

09:30  Haris.  A military jeep at the entrance to the village.

We came to Haris today at the request of women who were in the English class and wanted to meet with us.  We thought they wanted to participate in the trip to the beach.  But we learned they didn’t even know about it – so why did they want to meet?  Simply because “we missed you.”  We had also missed them very much, and the meeting in the lovely home of one of the women was held in a very emotional atmosphere.  That’s additional proof of the importance of the personal connections with the women in the villages that result from the ongoing meetings…

The year-end exam period in school is over.  The ambitious women had reviewed the exam material for hours with their children.  Their children are enrolled in schools run by the Palestinian Authority in which, unlike in the very expensive private schools, discipline isn’t a strong point and the children aren’t obedient.  “Like in Israel,” they emphasized.  We were very happy to learn that some of the mothers take their little children to swimming lessons at the pool in Deir Astia village.  Maybe those little ones will begin to overcome the ugly stigma according to which “Arabs aren’t able to swim.”


And what’s happening in the village?

The military presence is limited these days to the nighttime.  There haven’t recently been cases in which soldiers invaded homes, nor have villagers been arrested.  The family home of one of the women which had been demolished (because it was located in Area C) is being rebuilt despite the fear that the bulldozers may return one day.  On the other hand, the family in whose home we met is building an adjoining dwelling unit for their eldest son who has turned 20.  There’s no impediment to construction because the house is in Area B.  That’s the demarcation line between what’s forbidden and what’s allowed in that village, all based on the whims of the occupying regime.

Yesterday the Palestinian Minister of Health visited the village accompanied by a number of Israelis in order to examine the sewer system.  Many residents are suffering from skin problems due to the sewage coming from the dilapidated sewage lines of the Barkan industrial zone.  Another blow the occupation inflicts on Palestinians in the West Bank.


11:30  We leave our hosts who invite us to return soon, for lunch.

On our way back we stopped at the entrance to Azzun.  Large concrete cubes block the entrance and make the presence of soldiers unnecessary.  A taxi parked at the gate waits for passengers to walk through the barrier.  No one knows when this arbitrary punishment will end.

The return trip was quiet; there’s no military presence on the road.  Even the jeep usually parked opposite Karnei Shomron isn’t there this time.


12:00  Back in Rosh Ha’Ayin.