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  • Mary L. Hanna

Keep The Gate Open

18 Dec 2015/ Meta Peace Team, Scott/ Deir al Ghusun

Farmers gather and demand their right to travel to their fields. The early morning sun rays fell farmers huddled around fires to stay warm as they waited for the Israeli army to arrive at the gate. This was a portion of the usual 200 farmers who pass through the Deir al Ghusun agricultural gate each morning to get to their fields which are on the Palestinian side of the Green line (1949 Armistice) but cut off from Palestine by the apartheid wall. Yesterday word was sent out that Israel would shut this gate permanently requiring the farmers to go to another gate, adding another hour and a half each way to their daily travel. In addition it would require them to cross the green line and walk along an Israeli road next to a settlement.

farmers and tractors wait

Many gathered at the gate; farmers, officials including the Mayor, and internationals to protest this ruthless and needless action. After consultations and discussions the military agreed first to only allow old men through, but eventually to open the gate as usual. This was a huge victory, a tribute to the farmers who refused to give in, the officials who added weight to the words if the farmers, and to the internationals who came to watch as the eyes of the world. This will not stop the humiliating searches, the unpredictable timing of daily gate openings, or the whim of individual guards to deny access randomly or tear up a permits. But it does allow the farmers to keep farming their land.

Palestinians "negotiate" with military commander through the locked gate

In an unintended tribute to the international presence the military commander told the officials to tell the observers that everything had been solved and that there were no more problems. It is a reminder about the importance of people supporting or joining the international presence in Palestine.

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