Visit to Iskaka and Yasuf

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Nathalie, Rachel, Aliyah(report), Driver:Mustafa
Jewish Terror

Yasuf:  Our first stop was in Yasuf where we met with a member of the village Council.

Water:  There are almost no problems with water since they do not get their water from Israel.  They have a pump that works for the whole village.

Electricity:  They receive only 180 watts per hour which are not enough. The electricity doesn’t reach some of the homes. 220 watts per hour would be desirable. When many things are working at the same time the electricity stops altogether.

Farming:  The real problem for the farmers is that the Israeli settlers don’t let them get to their plots. There are several settlements in the area of Yasuf – Rechalim, Tapuach and others. Gangs of settlers with guns come to the farmers’ plots and don’t allow the farmers to get near. The IDF comes when this happens, but the soldiers do nothing. The police, if they are called, also do nothing.

Olive harvest:  The IDF allows the villagers a few days to complete the olive harvest, although they really need 2 weeks. When they reach their olive groves they find that trees have been broken and a lot of the olives have been stolen.

Economy:  For 2% of the population of the village the economic situation is very difficult. 69% of the men work in Israel. They receive permits for 2 months and then they have to renew them. The men pay a lot of money for their permits. No outside help is allowed for them.

Education:  Our host says that the school in Yasuf is not in good physical condition. There are 20-30 children in each class. Up to the age of eight boys and girls study together. After that age they are in separate classes. The older children study at a school not in Yasuf.

Health:  There is a clinic in the village. One doctor serves 2 villages so he is not there every day. For any serious health problems the villagers go to the hospital in Salfit or in Nablus.

Problems with the settlers and “hill-top gangs”:  “Gangs” come into the village to steal and destroy. One time they set fire to the mosque.

In general, our host told us, “the situation in the village could be better.”

Iskaka:   We were first greeted by the treasurer of the village Council who was actually rather busy. Very soon the newly elected head of the Council came to host us.

Education:  The Council Head had come from visiting 4 schools. He had been checking what is OK, and what needs to be taken care of. There is one elementary school in the village for boys and girls together. After that the boys and girls are in separate junior high and high schools, together with the children of Yasuf.

Water and Electricity: Iskaka receives only 30% of the water that they really need from Mekorot. Their electricity they get from Salfit. Our host did not go into any more detail on these subjects. He was more interested in taking us to see things around the village. We all went in Mustafa’s car for the tour.

   There are several ancient buildings in Iskaka. One site, an ancient mosque, is marked as an archeological site. On the Friday before our visit, early in the morning, Israeli soldiers and settlers came into Iskaka to that mosque. They were there for about 3 hours. They measured, photographed and marked the site. Of course they gave no explanation for why they had come to the mosque. We saw the mosque from the outside.

   Our host took us to an old house that has been renewed. It was not easy to walk up the hill to the house. The grounds around the house are being upgraded into a small park. We peeked inside the house and it looked nice. We thought that was all we would do, but then our host unlocked the door and invited us into a pleasant room arranged with seating for a group of people. We sat down and admired the pleasant room Our host explained that he wanted to turn Iskaka into a place for visitors from other villages, especially for tourists.

    Our host told us that the salary he receives each month he donates to the village. His personal library, which is in Salfit, is open to students who are studying at the university level. His office is also open for questions and advice for university students.

   Again we were sure that was all we would do there, but our host left the room for a few minutes. He came back with a large box of baked laffa, some with tomato paste, some with zaatar, and some with olives and cheese. There was also a large bottle of Coca-Cola. Three ladies, Mustafa and our host enjoyed lunch together. We thanked our host and managed to walk down to the car. This time we did drive back to the train station of Rosh Ha-ayin.