Jayyus - As we have learned in our visits to Palestinian villages and towns, education is very important to them

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Aliyah S. (Eng.), Ana S. (Ed.), Rachel S. (Heb.), Nathalie C., Ahmed (driver).

Jayyus: We visited A. at his home. He is a prominent member of the town Council and accustomed to having Israelis as his guests. His wife wanted to serve us breakfast, which was very generous of her, but we declined as we wanted to get to our questions and answers. We met his sister, a visitor from Jordan where she lives. A. said she loves Jayyus and visits them often.

Medical Services: There are several medical clinics in Jayyus – one government-run and some private ones. The government clinic is open 5 days a week with a nurse on duty, but a family doctor comes only 2 days a week. For specialists, they go to hospitals in Nablus and Salfit. Permanent employees must be medically insured. However, the law does not oblige employers like A. to insure their temporary day workers. Most Palestinians do not have medical insurance covering medical problems beyond consulting the nurse or the doctor at the clinic. In very difficult operations, the insurance pays 80% of the cost, the patient 20 %. Concerned with his fellow Palestinians’ welfare, A. thinks that a law ensuring that everyone does have full medical insurance is needed.

Education: In Jayyus there are 4 schools – an elementary school for boys and one for girls, and a high school for boys and one for girls.  The schools are fairly well supplied. The Jayyus Friends in France organization helps to support the schools. Moreover, Jayyus has a twin city in Scotland; they recently sent a “smartboard”—a blackboard which works like a computer— for the girls’ elementary school. The other schools hope to receive the same gift.

As we have learned in our visits to Palestinian villages and towns, education is very important to them. A. has 7 children, 3 sons and 4 daughters, who are all married, and 30 grandchildren. His oldest son has an MA from Ukraine and is an electrical engineer. The second son has a Ph.D. from Moscow Friendship University and teaches law at Al Najakh University in Nablus. His third son has an MA in agriculture from Napoli, Italy. Two daughters have degrees from Al Najakh and are teachers. To offer university education to all their children meant many years’ hard work for him and his wife.

Problems: No Israeli settlements overlook Jayyus directly, but their presence had an impact on the village in two ways. First, the barrier separating Israel from the West Bank cuts through the village and is built on land belonging to the residents. A. is one of 79 farmers affected by it. In 1988 when the Israeli government decided on the barrier’s location, the Israeli military governor in Kedumim declared 1362 dunams of agricultural land—which belongs to Jayyus farmers—as government land. In order to farm their land, these men would need permits to go through ‘agricultural gatesinfo-icon’ to get to their own plots.

When the military order of the confiscation was given, the 79 farmers who were affected decided to go to court and challenge the confiscation of their land. They had to go to Beit El military court, and were given 45 days in which to put in their claim. For eight years the hearings were postponed, over and over again (1988-1996). A. took part in non-violent protests, and continued to cultivate his land. He refused to stop and because of this spent a short time in jail. In 1996 a court decision was finally handed down. Some of the farmers got some land back – and, of course, A. was pleased to be among them. He immediately started planting – olives, 12 kinds of citrus fruits, avocado, mango, figs, almonds, pomegranates, and walnuts— all of them grown for marketing. For family use, he also grows grapes and bananas. A.’s wife served us oranges, peeled and cut up, Clementina, bananas and dates, along with coffee. All this was not breakfast!

In 2006 one of A.’s neighbors decided to build a greenhouse on his own land— a costly investment. In 2014 the farmer was told that the greenhouse was built on ‘state land’ and so it was destroyed. Most families in Jayyus, about 70%, live from agriculture, but the men do not work full time. Unlike them, A. lives 100% from farming, and occasionally employs several workers to whom he pays 120 shekels a day. There are more than 200 greenhouses belonging to farmers in the community. They grow tomatoes, cucumbers, beans and other vegetables which they sell mostly in Nablus. A. mentions the great inequality – whereas Israeli farmers can and do sell their produce in the Palestinian territories, the Palestinians cannot sell any of their produce in Israel. Clearly, a violation of Palestinian’ right to free marketing.

A Solution to the Conflict. Without being asked, A. gave his opinion of a  solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “In the first phase, we must have two states. We have to create mutual respect, equality in rights and build confidence in each other. Then we may be able to create one state.” He quoted Prof. Arnon Sofer who in 1979 wrote that by 2020 the Palestinians will be 60% of the people living in our area, and the Israelis 40% of the population. So, he “invented” the idea of the Separation Barrier: a million Palestinians would lose their land, and would then emigrate…

”We are the victims today of the victims of yesterday,” he said.