Deir al-Ghusun - Suspicion between the farmers and the various authorities

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Nura Resh, Micky Fisher (reporting), Hanna Kahana (translation)

11:00 The Deir al-Ghusun Municipality

Permits: B. who is responsible for the permits, reports that out of 350 requests for permits which were submitted towards the olive picking season, only 100 were accepted and the rest were either rejected or have remained unanswered, although a month has passed since they were submitted. According to him, last year, during the olive picking season, the number of permits was double. Some of the answers explain the difference and the worsening in the allotment of permits: last year mainly those who inherited plots or were considered as owners of plots smaller than 100 sq. meters were rejected. This year the owners of 330 sq. meters were rejected by the DCO,  which mainly leaves entire plots without the possibility of performing the necessary upkeep actions which are required at this season, as there are no farmers to perform them,  or forces them to pay other farmers in order to upkeep their own plots. We suggested that B. clarify the matter with the center for the protection of the individual, both as a matter of principle and also as representative of a number of farmers.

Olive Picking: Both at Deir al-Ghusun as in in the entire Quilquilya and Tul Qarem region, there were reports about a harmful insect – which during the month of May struck the olive flowers and caused them to shed, with the result that there are either no olives or very few on the trees in all the regions near the village and also beyond the fence.  One of the farmers who appeared at the office told us that he collected just one jar of olives this year, compared to a large amount of hundreds of olives last year, which allowed him to produce 150 liters of olive oil.

Estimations toward the pest control during the coming season: At the municipality they talked about two systems suggested by the Palestinian liaison – pest control by means of spraying by a hired private plane, an action which they do not believe the Israeli Army would allow, or sticking stickers with preventive material on each olive tree. According to them, the pest preventive action must be performed not later than the beginning of February 2019. The accountant at the Municipality said that the Palestinian Authority passed on to the farmers in the  entire West Bank sum of two million shekel to perform the pest preventive action. Out of this sum, the Municipality of Deir al-Ghusun received 60 Shekel only, a sum which suffices for the purchase 40 stickers, while there are thousands of olive trees in the region.

According to him the Municipality is geared to help the farmers obtain spray in containers with the help of donations by European organizations, while  they themselves would issue a tender in the village for the operation of tractors which would activate the pesticide containers and would spray the trees. The farmers would be obliged to pay for the work of the tractors, the estimate being that the expense per farmer would be about 150 shekels per dunam of an olive plantation plot.

According to another source in the village, it may be necessary to perform another spraying action in the month of May as well.

12:30 A Meeting with G., a farmer, owner of hothouses and olive plantations. Contrary to what we heard at the Municipality, G. claims that each farmer will have to fend for himself as regards the spraying and its financing.

He also pointed out that the passage at CP 609 was acceptable on that day as there was a representative of the DCO who supervised the transfer of wooden boards for the hothouses in the seamline region. According to him, the Israeli DCO suspects that the farmers sell wooden boards in Israel and that it therefore observes them closely and directly and isn’t satisfied with the coordination the transfer the parts required for the hothouses or for the upkeep of the plantations.

In a telephone conversation on the previous day he pointed out that the unit of soldiers had been replaced and that soldiers of the former unit had beaten a farmer who passed over to the seamline region and the Palestinian liaison had complained and requested an action.

Conclusion: there is a state of suspicion between the farmers and their own different authorities.

One must also foresee many problems regarding the requests for spraying, owing to difficulties in coordination, a problem which could hamper the olive crops of next year as well.