Deir al-Ghusun, Zeta and Qafin - meetings in the seem zone for the olive harvest

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Miki Fisher, Tzvia Shapira, Mustafa (driver); Translator:  Charles K.

We had meetings in three villages regarding olive harvest permits:  Deir el Ghusun, Zeta and Qafin.

Deir el Ghusun

Bassam is the liaison person to the Palestinian Authority.

There are many accounts of problems at the fence’s checkpoints.

Applications for harvest permits began to be submitted on 5.9.17.

Some 70-75 applications are submitted each week.  Only 185 permits have been granted.

76 residents who applied haven’t yet received a reply.


  • Farmers with plots of 6 sq. m. aren’t receiving olive harvest permits because the plot is too small.
  • Someone who has only 8 sq. m. are told to prove olives are planted.  They don’t know how to prove it if they’re not permitted to access the plot.
  • Someone who goes to their land in clean clothes is suspected of planning to work in Israel rather than on their land, and is asked mockingly, “Is your bride waiting among the olives?”
  • On Sunday, 24.9, the gate should have opened at 12:30, but the soldiers didn’t show up until 15:00.

A., one of our contacts, goes through agricultural gate 623 every day.

G., another contact, also uses gate 623.  He’ll be in touch with us in the coming weeks if there are problems.


We met at the municipality with Abu Rushdi.  They received only 11 permits.

Women, children and grandchildren of the landowners were universally denied permits.

Additional residents will apply for permits after Yom Kippur.

Their principal request is that the gatesinfo-icon open in the morning at 7, not at 8.

According to Abu Rushdi:  I have 7 dunums of uncultivated land.  I have no trees there.  I want to plant chickpeas, oats, hyssop…  Because, prior to three years ago, permits weren’t required to reach the land he planted seasonal crops.  Later he wasn’t permitted to reach the land and everything died.

The DCL wants proof he owns the land.  He spoke to Nehiyya, from the Moked for the Defense of the Individual, who spoke with Eyal, from the DCL.  He hasn’t yet received a permit.

He’ll keep applying, won’t give up.

Abu Rushdi leased land from relatives living in Jordan.  He has to register it in the tabu.  To do so he must hire a surveyor from Israel.  He entered into the lease contract at the embassy in Jordan and in Abu Dhabi.  The landowner submitted all the necessary documents to prove he had leased it to Abu Rushdi, but he hasn’t yet received any permit.


We met at the municipality.

Qafin has 500 dunums in the seam zone beyond the fence.

20 percent of the landowners are prohibited from working their land “for security reasons.”

About 200 people go through the agricultural gates each morning.

The gates open late almost every day.

Thus far, families have submitted 500 applications for olive harvest permits, and 500 applications for crossing permits for workers during the year.  Only 40-50 permits have been approved.

The reasons they were given for the refusals:

  1. There’s no proof the applicant has a direct connection to the land.
  2. The Civil Administrationinfo-icon decides how many relatives may be employed.
  3. Each family member must submit a separate application.
  4. People younger than 16 aren’t granted permits.

That contradicts the recent published regulations which give priority to first-order relatives to obtain olive harvest permits, and to those who aren’t prohibited for security reasons – and the Palestinian Liaison Office also promised verbally to give permits to all members of the family.  In the past many family members received permits to reach their land even though they had been prohibited for security reasons.

Residents of Qafin are also being required to prove the land is planted with olives, and they don’t know how they’re supposed to do so. 

Individual cases:

A. is one of four brothers.  Only one received a permit; the others have been blacklisted.  They’re unable to harvest their olives and have, in effect, given up on them, because when they let hired workers pick the crop they harvested almost nothing, nor did they produce any olive oil.  In the past, before the fence, they supplied half of Qafin’s crop, and they also owned an olive press.

M. has 80 sq. m.  He’s asked to prove they’re planted with olives.

In each of the three villages we were told:  The olive harvest has always been a festive family event.  That has been denied us since the fence was erected and we have been cut off from our land.