Facebook Twitter Whatsapp Email
Aliyah S. (reporting), Ana S., Nathalie C., Ammar, (driver and translator).

Main Points: Israeli settlers from the settlement Tapuach harassed the farmers of Jama'in during the olive harvest. Israeli volunteers helped keep the settlers away, when they could be there. More volunteers are needed every year. Many high school graduates go on to study at universities, but very few of them find jobs in the professions they have studied. This is the same problem all over Palestine. Carob trees help cut down the dust hazard from the stone quarries. There is a serious lack of health services and social services for all of the Palestinians.

Jama'in: The head of the Council was busy so we spoke with M. who works in the Council. We had not visited Jama'in since September, 2017, so our first questions were about the olive harvest. It was during the harvest period that the farmers of Jama'in suffered the most harassment from the settlers of Tapuach. When the settlers saw families working in their groves, they came into the groves with dogs to frighten the Palestinians to leave their work. When Israeli volunteers came to help with the harvest there was much less trouble from settlers. With the help of the Israelis the farmers managed to finish the harvest. The Palestinians call the police and the army when the settlers come, but, as they told us, these official representatives come much later, after the settlers have gone.

Now, during the rainy season, the farmers have to work in the groves and on their plots for the growing season. Right now there is no big problem but they are worried that again they will be harassed by the settlers when they are working their plots. For a number of years one particular settler, named Simcha, raised a herd of goats. He regularly brought his goats onto plots owned by farmers from Jama'in. He has since passed away, but his sons have taken over the flock of goats and continue to graze them on Jama'in land.

The only problem with the army that was mentioned was that one month ago the IDF closed off the village for two days. No explanation was given to the Council, and there were no incidents in the village. They still have no idea why it was done.

The schools in Jama'in are functioning well. Many of the high school graduates go on to study at the Universities, mainly in Nablus and Ramallah. The main problem is the lack of jobs in the professions that they have prepared for. Because Jama'in has a well developed stone quarry industry, the young people find jobs there so unemployment is not so high in the village. For men the unemployment rate is about 3%, and for women it is about 20%. Some men have permits to work in Israel, and some of the people leave the village to find work abroad.

Health is a problem in Jama'in. On the one hand the stone quarries provide a profitable industry. On the other hand they are the source of clouds of dust which are a health hazard. The dust, breathed in by the workers, causes shortness of breath, other lung problems, and affects the eyes also. The industry uses a lot of water to try to control the dust. The village also plants carob trees around the quarries. The leaves of the trees catch the dust, and the fruit is not harmed by the dust since the seeds are encased in pods. The carob is indigenous to this area. The tree has strong, deep roots and can tap water that other trees cannot reach. So the carob trees catch a lot of the dust and provide seeds that are ground into a tasty powder.

As in all the Palestinian areas, the health services are insufficient. In Jama'in the local health clinic operates twice a week, from 8:00 to 14:00. This is not enough time for the entire village. We asked if the Israeli organization, Doctors for Human Rights, comes to the village. They have not come for about four years we were told. Sick people who need immediate help go to Huwarra or to Nablus. In Nablus, one doctor in the heart clinic may check up to 60 patients every day. The Palestinians definitely need more doctors and clinics, but there is no money for that. They also do not receive help from UNRWA.

Another social problem is that of widows who are left with children and are in poverty. A Palestinian organization helps, but it is never enough money or for a long enough time. Charities also help.

Unfortunately, due to a punctured tire, we waited a long time for our driver and were, therefore, unable to visit more than one village. But we’re thankful that Ammar came and was very helpful.