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Anna Shidlo, Natalie Cohen, Chana Zohar (reporting), Mustafa (driving); Translator:  Charles K.

There are no complaints.  There’s no longer a problem with water, the army almost never appears, agricultural lands haven’t been expropriated and there are no restrictions on cultivation.  Have they grown accustomed to the occupation?   The experience of M., whom the head of the municipality brought to speak with us, exposes the suppressed resentment.

09:30  We left from Rosh Ha’ayin.

We hadn’t made an appointment.  The accountant called the head of the municipality who arrived right away.  Anna gave him the translation of the report of our previous visit.  He thanked us and skimmed it.  It’s clear that bringing the report in English is a good idea.  Then he stretched and asked what we had done with his request to help cancel the blacklisting.  He didn’t manage to get in touch with Sylvia.  For a moment we didn’t remember his request.  He took out notes and visiting cards of the people he’d asked for help during earlier visits:  Pitzi, Rachel, Nurit and Chana.  We were a little embarrassed.

It’s easy to receive requests.  Sometimes they’re transmitted to the relevant organization.  Sometimes not.  It’s important to come back after a few days.  To report what was done, and provide the phone number of the relevant organization.  In cases where it’s clear nothing can be done, return and say so.  Don’t leave the request unanswered.

B. tells us that the new mosque is operating only on solar energy – lights and heating.  They discovered it’s cheaper.  They’re sorry they don’t have a budget to continue.  A local resident covered the installation cost, an importer who used to live in the Gulf.  He’s interested in bio-toilets and we’re supposed to email him information in English.

The new mosque is located in the village center, on a hill.  The view is lovely; the eye can’t get enough of the terraced hillsides covered with olive trees.  The surrounding buildings are old and interesting.  They haven’t been restored and some have been neglected.

We wanted to leave but B. detained us for tea until M. arrived.  He wanted us to hear him.  M. worked nine years in a factory in Barkan.  After he suffered a herniated disk he asked for an easier job.  The employer refused and M. requested severance pay (which the employer is obligated to provide in such a case).  The employer wanted to pay him NIS 20,000 and wanted M. to sign in agreement.  M. refused and they parted angrily.  He says he worked as a manager and they had good relations until then.  Since then M. has had difficulty going through the checkpoint even though he has a magnetic card and obtains a permit in advance.  When he goes through and they see his name, they give back his permit and he must return home with it.   Once he was caught on the way and after they checked his ID card he was handcuffed and brought to the Ariel police station where he learned he was suspected of theft.  During interrogation they tried to convince him to confess and told him there are photographs proving his guilt.  M. refused.  M. sued his employer and the court awarded him NIS 100,000.  His employer paid but M. believes he’s harassing him by preventing him from going through the checkpoints.  M. injured his hand at his next place of work and is handicapped.  He receives a payment based on a 34% disability.  A Jewish friend who’d worked with him and had opened a competing business offered him a job as a foreman but he’s unable to obtain a permit.

Every Jew in the occupied territories is a king compared to the Palestinians, especially when they’re an employer.  If they wish, they’ll harass a person who sues them and make it hard for them to earn a living.  We were asked to help cancel the blacklisting.  He said that in the past the Center for the Defense of the Individual in East Jerusalem had been very helpful.  We said we’d look into it but we can’t promise anything.