Telephone report: Who takes care of the olives of Aanin farmers

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Shuli Bar and Mahmoud from Anin village
חומת ההפרדה החדשה המחסום עאנין

The Anin Agricultural Checkpoint is closed shut by a powerful fence that has totally disconnected the villagers from their own olive groves (hundreds of dunams) in the seam zone. When this checkpoint was active and opened twice a week, many young people holding valid transit permits passed it into the seam zone. This was a real bonus – they were not required to pay a steep price to pass through the distant Barta’a Checkpoint. Around May 2023 (several months after hundreds of breaches in the Separation Fence were discovered) the occupation authorities began to block also the Palestinian villages located in the West Bank’s north-west region with a gigantic wall. The Israeli authorities established that it was enough to approach olive trees only twice a year, during the harvest and on plowing days. The reason for this, apparently, was to prevent Palestinians who are not farmers from crossing over into the seam zone (and from there on to Israel-proper) and spare the fence-guarding soldiers extra work. It must be said that the Israeli army generously granted transit permits to those non-farming youngsters.

As October and the first rains are here – the olive harvest season is upon us. These days the farmers of Anin are waiting with extra concern to be permitted to pass into their own olive groves, caged behind the wall/fence inside the seam zone. The military has not yet approved and they're afraid to press. It is clear to them that the state of war has changed the rules, and they can only hope that they will be allowed to harvest... This is their main source of livelihood, for self-consumption. 

The crop this year is meager. “Perhaps 50%” says Mahmoud. “Only the trees close to home are harvested.”

I assume Mahmoud does not know exactly what has been happening around the Gaza Strip and in the southern part of Israel. They are connected only to the Al Jazeera station. I felt that he does not wish to be updated, either. But he reminds me lengthily that his son (a PA policeman) was killed by drug dealers, and that he is conscious of pain, and keeps asking whether I am alright, about my family, and wishes good health and the mercy of God to everyone.

I was informed by the Salem DCO that as of today, no opening of the checkpoint is planned for the olive harvest, but this is not a final decision.