Beit Iba, Thu 23.10.08, Morning

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Ziona A., Rachel A-T. (reporting) Translator: Charles K.

Beit Iba
The checkpoints are relatively empty.  Few pedestrians or cars.  You see families picking olives everywhere, and Einav’s security coordinator explains that the settlement is located on Palestinian land.

7:50  A few people wait at the exit from Nablus, and a few enter without being inspected.  The usual inspections of people leaving, and they stop to put their belts on and organize their belongings before continuing on their way.

When we arrive a Palestinian Israeli is detained at the exit from Nablus, on suspicion of having a forged ID card.  Five minutes later he’s released.

There’s a dog handler at the vehicle lane.

8:00  A Ford Transit isn’t allowed to leave Nablus.  He turns around, and because of the fence we couldn’t find out what happened.  Apparently he doesn’t have an exit permit.  Another car isn’t permitted to enter, apparently for the same reason.  It turns out that they don’t stop trying their luck…

When we passed next to the vehicle lane a soldier came over and asked us to leave because we were interfering.  We replied that we’re allowed to be here, and we’re willing to speak to the commander.  He went over to the commander (unfortunately, we didn’t ask for his name).  After he heard us out he didn’t see any reason to ask us to leave.

Up to ten cars were waiting while we were there.

Anabta – 9:30 – No line on either side of the checkpoint.

We see a family picking olives a few yards from the road and we go over to them.  They’re from Haramiyya. While drinking tea with them it turned out that a member of the family went on Wednesday to pick olives in the grove next to the settlement of Einav.  The locality’s guard chased him away, even though he had permission and the soldiers at the checkpoint told him he could go up to the grove.  He was told to come on Sunday.  We called Zacharia, from Rabbis for Human Rights in order to understand exactly what happened (my Arabic, unfortunately, is very limited), and also so they could try to help them.  I’m also passing on the information to others in the Olive Harvest Coalition.  Maybe they can help.

We went up to Einav to find out what happened.  There were a few soldiers and a command car at the roadblock, and the guard was very polite and telephoned someone to tell him that women from Machsom Watch were here with questions about the olive harvest.  He said that the security coordinator will be be right her to speak with us.  After a few minutes he arrived – Meir.
Courteously and politely (it looked like he was instructed to behave nicely to us), he also explained that there are Palestinians with olive groves within the boundaries of the locality.  Of course, they’re not inside the locality, but in the huge area defined as belonging to the locality.  The settlers are very “nice,” and if there’s a permit, the Palestinian shows them that he’s the owner and they allow him to enter his grove and pick the olives during the period specified in the authorization.  They even allow members of his family to help the owner of the plot.  There are two families picking at the moment.

It was amazing!  The security coordinator simply told us that the settlement sits on Palestinian land and that they, the invaders, want to see the authorization that the land owner has, and only them do they allow him to enter.  Another one of the occupation’s marvels.

We asked how they enter the locality and were told there’s a special gate the army opens in the morning and in the afternoon.  When we asked whether we may go in and meet them he didn’t permit us to do so, and when we asked to go to the Palestinians’ gate he said we’d need a jeep to reach it.  The Palestinians bring the olives out on donkeys.

We saw a path going up from the road.  We followed it to the top of a hill from which we could see the whole area, including a few dozen of Einav’s buildings, and a fence surrounding an enormous amount of land around it.  We didn’t continue to the gate, because the way was really becoming too difficult.