Zeita (Jammain), Jama'in

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Anna (English and Photographs) Aliya S. (English), Rahel S. (Hebrew) Mustaffa – Driver and translator, Participatong, Hanna K. (translating)


 This is a Palestinian village in the Nablus district, at a distance of 16 kms from Nablus, and situated north to the town of Ariel.  In 2007 there were 6,227 inhabitants in the village. The village’s livelihood is based mainly on the quarrying of stones for building and on cultivating olive trees and producing olive oil. The village is also known for its baskets, made of olive tree leaves. There is also a well-developed dairy enterprise in the village, there are goats and cows, and yoghurt is produced from their milk.

We talked with Inam, the municipality secretary, who talks English and who was glad to see us again. We talked about the “sea days” which will commence in June after the Ramadan. It would be best if she could organize a group of 58 persons, mothers and children, including Inam. We also talked with a Hebrew teacher at the Najah University, at Nablus.

 As for the settlers we received contradictory answers. On the one hand we were told that “the settlers are far from us and have no possibility of creating problems for us”. But later they told us that they needed volunteers to help the farmers during the olive picking as well as the citrus picking seasons because of the settlers who harassed them.

Rahel said that she had a friend who was a reform rabbi and belonged to the Rabbis for Human Rights Organization. She promised to ask him. Aliya added that she knew a person who deals with these matters and that she would consult him.

Water supply. We asked about the building of a big water reservoir project about which we were told at our previous visit (see report of 13.11.18). We were happy to hear that the building of the closed reservoir had been completed two months ago, on 1.2.2019, and that it had not yet been used. The building of the reservoir had been financed by USA Aid, and this was their last contribution. The reservoir is intended for Jammain only, and can contain a thousand cubic meters of water. In the summer the problem is that it is not clear how many cubic meters Mekorot will give, and whether the amount will suffice for their needs. Other sources of water are private wells in the homes of the inhabitants, but only 10% of the population own such wells. When we asked whether they were satisfied with the Palestinian Authority, they did not reply.

One of the persons present asked whether one could also organize a Hike for men. Aliya answered that we don’t deal with this matter, just with “sea days” for mothers and children, but that she knew somebody who dealt with this, and that she would ask him.

Electricity: “we pay each month, and request a bigger amount as we have enterprises”.

Education. There are enough schools but they request another new secondary school for the boys.

We asked what the children were doling during the vacation. They are building a playground for the children, and there is a football field but not a big one. As in other villages the girls stay at home.

Many students learn at the university, but when they finish their studies most of them work at the quarries because they can’t find work in their profession. 93% of the women study. The wife of the man who was talking who is a Hebrew teacher at the Najah University at Nablus, got a BA and an MA from the Bir Zeituniversity.

Problems with the sewerage. We have no sewerage system, each person has something private. This is a great problem and we need help in this.

The good water of the whole region is underground, and Israel takes this water into Israel. They are afraid they would poison or damage the water. The settlers have a sewerage system.

We asked about the 2007 plan to build a pool to gather the sewerage. They need 5 million dollars, which they don’t have, for this project, and it is doubtful whether they would be allowed to carry it out.

Medical Services.  We have a problem. One single doctor arrives three times a week from 09:00-12:00. There is also a laboratory but it functions one day a week only. As in many villages we visited, when there are grave problems, one goes to Nablus.

When we asked: “how do you see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”, our host answered: “I pray to God for a real peace, but the reality shows that the Israeli side tends more to the extreme right”.

Zeita Jammain

The interviewee: a bookkeeper.

Problems with the settlers. There aren’t any because the lands don’t reach the settlements, so the settlers do not come to disturb the olive and citrus picking.

Only the army comes in from time to time and they arrest people. Children learn to prepare Molotov cocktails and sometimes throw them at the soldiers. Mostly the Army enters at night for reconnaissance. The army also enters once or twice a month when there are terrorist attacks. The army entered the last time about a month and a half ago. They did not detain anybody at the village.

Employment: 50% work in Israel, also in the settlements, mainly at Barkan. 10% are employed at the olive orchards. About 4 people grow goats and two are employed in the cow trade. 40% unemployment – at each home there is one or two unemployed members.

Schools. One mixed primary school, one secondary school for boys and girls each.

Now there are the end of the year celebrations. Certificates of excellence are distributed to the excellent students. In the territories the summer vacation begins on the 1.6 and lasts three months.

Number of inhabitants: 2,800 and 3,500 abroad – many in Jordan and in the refugee camps, and a few in the Gulf States. Most of them come in summer for visits, some because of the olives. They take the oil with them. Of those who went to the Gulf States – one has a chain of restaurants, he has built the mosque in the village, helped some people, bought a cemetery and was the first to be buried there. His children follow in his footsteps and donate a lot.

Water. In summer: most of the time they do not have any water at night, but in the morning the water comes back.

We asked whether they could use the water reservoir of Jammain. No, the reservoir belongs only to them, but they participate in the electricity.

Health Services. Health Clinics: The clinic is manned for five days a week. On Sunday and Thursday there is a family doctor and on Monday a gynecologist.

We asked  whether it was true that there were many cases of cancer owing to the dust from the factories at Jammain. A year ago quarries on their side have been closed so that now there are no cases of cancer. Just in the north there is a small area where they suffer from the dust.

How do you see the solution to the conflict? “History proves that Islam has not been violent in all the places it conquered”.