***image2***Last Friday I went to visit my family land behind the Wall, and to pick some olives for eating. During the way I had to wait for the gate to open, then wait to be checked and to go ahead. Everything after one year of building the Wall becomes a routine, but nothing is normal. More than 15,000 trees died behind the Wall in this area. More than 200 farmers lost their land and work. The amount of production reduced to the half in the past year. The time to reach land increased at least three times, and similarly for the distances. Which of these results looks normal? People have been used to seeing the gate, and the procedure looks familiar for the farmers and the soldiers, but what happened to the land is not normal.

Even if a man adapts or complies with the new situation, the land doesn’t, because it’s against nature. I saw most of the olive farms still not harvested, but I know this means large amounts of oil are still on the trees and waiting the hands to harvest them. There on the trees is the main source of food for Jayyous people, and the main source of income in this season. At a similar time of year before the building of the Wall, such trees must be harvested by now. Unfortunately, some farms were ignored because their owners could not reach them, and some others became too far to reach. Large areas are totally cut off from the village and encircled by the Wall. The main dirt roads are closed and the only way that remains is to climb the mountains and transport the product by hand, which is not practical. The amount of loss in olive oil is expected to be enormous this year. Hundreds of tons of olives are now located behind the Wall.

The situation is no better with respect to the vegetable and citrus farms. There you don’t see many people, only those who can get a permit and could survive after the break in prices in the last summer. The place looks silent, but still it is like a piece from paradise. I breathed the clean air, and heard the clear songs the birds are singing. Walking in between the orchards of citrus and fruits made me to forget about the Wall and the time when I have to go back before the gate closes again. In such an area, you can know how God makes this land beautiful and how he wanted it to be. You can count tens of types of fruits in one season. I have to think of my childhood and to call upon my memory, where I had used to go with my parents to work and play. The land keeps giving generation after another, and nature is always beautiful, but why does it look sad now?

I went to harvest some olives and I picked about 30 kilograms in two hours. The trees are full of fruits, but they wait the hands to carry them. Olives are fresh and shining, but wait their people to visit them. The olive is a gift of God but we could not enjoy it.

As soon as I finished with the olives I went to pick some oranges, guava, tomatoes, and cucumbers. I filled two boxes in few minutes. I picked very fresh and tasty vegetables and fruits, but there is no market for them. I finished earlier than I expected because I have to be under the time stress when the gate could open and close.

I used the remaining time to have a look at the surrounding farms, and to see what new things have happened. In a neighboring farm to my land I saw what looked like a moaning under the trees. Most of the guava fruits were on ground, and the color of the ground had become yellow. I have known the owner of this farm since I was a kid; he is used to coming every day to take care of it. The trees waited for him to come and pick the fruits, but he did not. When the fruits get ripe and are not picked, they fall immediately like tears, but you can hear the sound when they crash on the ground. So I understood why this man had been crying when I met him two days before. The DCO refused to issue him a permit even though he is 65; they had issued him a permit earlier this year, but not this season. When I saw that, I decided to fill a box of guava and to give it to him.

When I went back, I gave it to him and I said, “It’s from your land”; then he said, “I know that, thank you.” I asked myself, “How could he know that?” The answer: myself, I love, know and can feel my kids even when I’m away from them, and these trees are the same age as his eldest son. His land must be like his children and they know each other, so that both are crying for being separated.

Do you know now what does the Wall mean?

God knows that and many friends also.



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