A-Sawiyya and Jama’in

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Aliyah S., Hanna Z. (reporting), Ana S. (translator), Ruth S. (guest) with Nadim.


Half of A-Sawiyya (some 1,500 people) we are told, has had no water for 5 days—-after Mekorot repaired the main tap controlling the water supply. 

The lack of a sewage disposal unit in Jama'in, we hear, poses a serious health problem. And for repairing its own infrastructure, the Electrical Company charges the Jama'in Baladia almost 2 million NIS .


A-Sawiyya. POPULATION. 3,000 people.

Madjeles Secretary A. says, “There’s nothing new.” But when we ask him about their water supply, he tells us there is a serious water shortage.

WATER.  Half of the village (1,500 to 2000 people) have had no water for 4 days, A. says. Since a month ago when Mekorot “repaired” the main water tap which controls the village supply, the water pressure has decreased from 18 to 16/14 milibar. Water now reaches the fields, on the level of the Mekorot tap, so we hear, but not many of the homes, which are on the hill above it. He said that the municipality asked the Palestinian Authority to help solve this serious water shortage.

Did Mekorot repair or perhaps partially close the tap supplying water to the village? 

Villagers, A. tells us, are forced to either buy bottled water, which is expensive, or to carry heavy containers up the hill from the field taps.

As Aliyah has since found out, water has returned to the homes of the unfortunate villagers, but only after being 6 days without water.


ELECTRICITY.  A. explains that each villager has his own electric meter, but the village is billed collectively.We asked to see their electricity bill, to understand why Beit Furik (as we had seen on our recent visit) was charged a large sum for unspecified “miscellaneous” items. A. said that such items usually cost them 11 NIS.

JAMA’IN.  Though our visit was not pre-arranged, the mayor remembered having met us, received us well, and shared with us some problems of his village of 12,000 people. 

EMPLOYMENT: farming, olive trees; stone quarries in Areas C and B.

SETTLERS. A year ago, the mayor tells us, Kfar Tapuach settlers cut down the trunks of 45 olive trees in Area C Jama’in lands, which are near their settlement, and interfered with farmers’ work; but lately they have not done so.

ARMY.The stone quarries in Area C, he adds, have been idle since the Army confiscated their working tools. At first work permits were required, but later, for security reasons, they were told, villagers were not allowed to work there at all. So now, our host continues, nobody works there. (This situation, as Hannah tells him, was mentioned in the World Bank Report).   

However, they do work in their stone quarries in Area B, and, he says, sell to Gulf States, where the good quality Jama’in stone is in demand.

HEALTH SERVICES. Thanks to German help, they enjoy the services of a physician three times a week. But on the other days, sick people have to go to Nablus or to Hawarra.

SEWAGE is a very serious health problem, we are told. There is no sewage disposal unit. So mobile tanks suck out the sewage, then release it on lands. The cost of installing a disposal unit is millions of shekels, which the mayor says, is equivalent to 15 years’ savings. As he emphasizes, this is a real emergency problem.  

ELECTRICITY problems. Two years ago for 4 months, the Mayor said, bills were rather low. The mayor informed the Electrical Company several times till finally someone came to check the Company’s infrastructure. And then they charged the village the huge sum of 1,900,000 NIS for repairs; they demanded immediate payment, and only after some discussions agreed to receive it in installments. The mayor wrote to the Ministry of Energy, and the Treasury. No one answered. To avoid paying also the fine of 30,000 sh. for 3 months’ delay, the Baladia gave in, and in four installments, paid 1 million NIS; the Palestinian Authority paid the rest.

One cannot help but wonder: who should actually pay for infrastructure repairs—-the village consumers or the Electrical Company? Israeli consumers do NOT pay to repair the Company’s infrastructure.   

The electricity supply is still inadequate: every so often, there are electricity stoppages. According to the mayor, there are two main electricity lines: one, apparently, is for the settlements in the area.