Kufr Jammal

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Dvorka A., Marcy Gair., Hanna Zohar (reporting), Nadim at the wheel. Translator: Hanna



Tour in vilages in the Kalkilya-Tulkarem area, focusing on the agricultural gatesinfo-icon

The Baladiya of the Kafriat represents seven not very large villages, amongst them J'amal and the village of Sur, a total of 9,000 inhabitants. 500 are employed in Israel under permits. This is a typically agricultural area, the earth is good and the agriculture is varied. In the course of the years the conditions at the gates worsened. Sometimes they are not opened at all, no reason. The opening times are too short. Some residents direct their anger at the heads of the Baladiya, who cannot change things. Persons who did not receive a permit for the agricultural gates, for security reasons, received at the same time a permit to work in Israel and in the settlements. A strange contradiction, which attests to the intention of causing agriculture in
the region to deteriorate.
10.30 At the Kafriat Baladiya
The head of the Baladiya A.R. didh't know about our coming but he welcomed us joyously. We introduced ourselves and explained about the joint project with Yesh Din. When he heard that we were interested in the agricultural gates he was pleased.
The first point: The stretch of time during which the gates are open doesn't suffice. Half an hour in the morning, at noon and in the afternoon. The farmers must bring the produce they have picked to the market, fresh, before noon, but they are forced to wait for the opening at around 13.30, and by then it is already too late.
They approached the DCO repeatedly and asked that the gates be opened for longer intervals. They were promised that the matter would be considered, but nothing has changes. He asked the DCO that the gates Falamiya, north and south, be joined and that this gate be open for 8 consecutive hours. He was refused.
There are no settlers nearby In their region and they don't suffer from them or the army. He mentioned 17-year-old Muhamed, who tried to cross the fence to get to work, and was killed by the soldiers.
The routine of the opening hours of the gates causes the inhabitants a lot of hardship.
Some time ago he was summoned to gate 914 – Falamiya north. He found 50 farmers waiting there. He asked the soldiers on the spot why they didn't open the gate. They answered that these were orders from above.
A.R. told us that one day during the Ramadan period he was summoned because the gates weren’t opened in the afternoon. The people were hungry and wanted to get home quickly. The soldiers said that there was an incident there. According to him, it turned out that a small boy of 6 years threw an orange at the soldiers. 
Another grave problem: tools are not allowed. A special permit is required for each and every tool and for every pipe that is needed in the fields. In the past he used to go out in the morning and cultivate his land for a few hours. He quit since he couldn't stand suffering  each day. He gave the plot to somebody else, free of charge, as long as he would work the land, “so that the field would be green.”
About 400-500 people hold permits to pass through the gates.  He points out that these are usually elderly people who cannot work in the fields anymore.  Between 100 to 200 are declined; these are mainly the young people who are able to work in the fields. The reason: "security". 
”During the holidays they let everybody enter Israel and they don't talk about security problems, and on regular days they don't let people enter to work their lands". 
A family divided the field between themselves when their father dies, and were left with small plots. They say they have no certificate of registration as they have only 2 dunam.
11.45 The Village of Sur
A meeting with G., who knows the members M. and W. He talked about the difficulties in the passage at the Sal'it Gate, 839.
It is certain the heads of the Kafriat could do more to improve the passage times at the agricultural CPs. The gate serves mainly the Palestinians who work in the area of Sal'it. It is opened twice a day, in the morning and in the afternoon. About 200 workers, who work at the industrial zone at Sal'it, pass through it. At the opening hour a jam is formed when all have to get through and be checked in half an hour. The farmers arrive at 04:00 in order not to be left behind, and stay in the area till 16:30 for the second opening. This of course makes life very difficult for them.
During this season edible wild plants grow in the fields. Elderly women usually come to gather these plants, and they have to wait for many hours.
12:50 CP 914
A small number of workers with a few utensils pass through the CP. We entered into a conversation with a military policeman and a policewoman. The soldier doesn't like the task he is forced to perform, but considers the "occupation" as a given situation to be lived with, in order to defend the State of Israel. On our way back we arrived at the gate and saw the women return in pickup trucks with big sacks of the plants they had picked.
13.45 Habla
There is no one at the open CP.