Habla, Haris, Imatin, Jinsafut

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Haya G., Naomi B. (reporting), Vivi K. (photos), Maya BH (translation), Nadim (driver)
Seriously? Does this make us safer?

09:30  Departure from the train station in Rosh Ha'Ayin.


10:00 Harres.  We stopped briefly and A. described the recent events at the Habla Gate.  Things ar going from bad to worse, he claimed, including during Ramadan.  Less and less time is allowed for passage.

The gate opened at 06:50 today, rather than 06:30, as it was supposed to. Documents were  collected only at 07:10, after which time no more people were admitted, although the gate is supposed to operate until 07:30. So in fact, only 20 minutes were allowed for passage.  A. also related a new form of abuse that he has witnessed that morning.  A bicycle rider was told to pass his bike over the turnstile,without touching it. His failed attempts met with laughter and derision, and he finally gave up and left. We left on route 55. Just before Azzun a traffic accident caused a jam. A fire truck, an ambulance, and 2 military vehicles were parked nearby, as well as the two wrecks of the cars which had crashed into one another.


10:30  Taking a right turn from route 55, we arrive at Jitt. At the town hall we are greeted warmly by the comptroler, who remembers our previous visit.  Nadim acts as translator, and we hear about the local innitiative, which is assisted by 2 international organizations. It was set up about 7 months ago for the purpose of timely warnings about attacks by soldiers and settlers.  6 villagers form pairs, each charged with monitoring a particular area. As soon as they identify any hostilities, they report to the Palestinian DCO, simultaneously informing "Medicins du Monde" and "Premier Urgence -- Aide Medicin Inernational". In case of casualties, they also inform the Red Crescent and Doctors for Human Rights, whose headquarters is in the Old City in Jerusalem. That organization transmits the complaint to Beit El. Besides transmitting the information, "these organizations protect us", says the comptroller, "and offer real assistance.  During the harvest they supplied the workers with bags and harvesting implements, and even paid them 100 NIS a day. They also help us deal with demolition edicts". 


As we speak, his mobile phone rings, and we witness an unfolding event in real time:  Settlers from Havat Gilad are shooting towards Jitt, followed, as usual, by soldiers, with villagers coming out towards them. The reason:  some villagers came on a tractor to take away garbage which had accumulated wthin the village's perimeter, on the dirt road which goes on to the settlement. The army commander threatens to confiscate the tractor if it advances further, the villagers oppose him. It turns out that there's no legal basis to his demand, he withdraws, and the settlers return to their settlement. We drive with the comptroller to the scene, just some dozens of yards from the village houses.  Some villagers are gathered there, inclduing our friend Z.  We find out that the Civil Administration has begun issuing building permits to the settlement, and one quick contractor has already begun to hire workers.

12:00  We leave Jitt, going south towards Imatin and Farata, to an observation point from which we can look upon Havat Gilad, but we are too far away to see what is happening in this lawless settlement.