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OPEN THE MAS’HA GATE – A Call to Action


(This is an example which gets to our attention. Getting one gate for one village opened is worth a few minutes of your time — and it DOES work sometimes – no less than participation in protests on the ground. Sometimes even more!)

– Adam Keller & Beate Zilversmidt, Gush Shalom

Dorothy Naor (dor_naor@netvision.net.il) writes:

Dear All,

A week or so ago, I related to you that the IOF decided to close the sole gate through which Mas’ha farmers have access to their lands, gate 46. Farmers never had unlimited access since the fence has been up. The gates opened twice a day for farmers who had permits: at 7:00 AM (or whenever the soldiers decided to come) and at 1:00 PM (or whenever the soldiers decided to come).

About 8 days ago, the IOF arbitrarily declared the gate to be a ‘seasonal’ gate, and informed villagers that the gate will be closed for 6 months. This is the first time that such a thing has happened. And, if the 6 month closure is indeed implemented, farmers will be prevented from going to harvest their olives, since the harvest period is mainly during October and November (but in some areas begins as early as September and lasts as late as December).

The present closure additionally prevents farmers from tending their vegetable crops, plowing the grounds around their almond trees and olive groves, and shepherds from grazing their flocks. Farmers are told to use the ‘other’ gate, but this is fictive advise. The ‘other’ gate is some 11 kilometers away (nearly 7 miles) and in an area that one needs a permit to get there. Most farmers do not have the necessary permit, nor would be allowed to have one. And the distance makes it almost impossible, particularly for the older men. They not only have to cover the distance to the gate, but then many have to walk back on the other side of the fence to get to their fields.

Mas’ha, prior to being closed off by the fence in September 2003, had 6200 dunams of land; of these only 500 dunams remain within the fence. In other words, within the fence are the built-up areas (residential and business), while all the agricultural lands are on the other side of the fence.

Please protest this closure and demand that farmers be allowed to go to their lands. Some 4-6 farmers go daily at this time of year, although there are days when 20 (of the 70 or so who own lands) go.

But even if only 1 farmer wanted to go, and if only to sit under his tree, is the IOF to prohibit him from doing this! I surely want no one to prohibit me from going to my garden to sit under my pecan tree or merely to stroll in my yard! Would you? Why should the IOF lord it over farmers who have never done harm to anyone, and who want merely to live and let live?????

Please protest by phone and/or fax (I have no email addresses):

1. DCO Qalqilya: Phone: 050 623 4034; Fax 09 792 2331 (from abroad +972 50 623 4034; fax +972 9 792 2331)

2. Civil Administration Spokesperson: Phone: 050 623 4081; Fax: 02 997 7341 (from abroad +972 50 623 4081; Fax +972 2 997 7341)

3. IDF (i.e., IOF) Spokesperson: Phone 03 6080 220; Fax 03 6080 343 (from abroad +972 3 6080 220; fax +972 3 6080 343)

Thanks to all.


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