I have just heard that I will be placed in Jayyous, a small village of about 3,700 people, half way up the northern part of the West Bank. It lies close to the separation barrier which at that point does not follow the ‘green line’, i.e. the internationally recognised border, but cuts into the occupied Palestinian West Bank. 80% of the farm land belonging to the village is now on the other side of the barrier and most of their wells. Farmers have to go through manned ‘agricultural gates’ in the barrier to farm their land and to do this they have to have a valid permit. Only about 20% of local farmers have permits to access their land.
Jayyous used to be a prosperous village but has lost a lot of its livelihood and income. It was one of the first villages to resist the route of the barrier and perhaps because of this reputation for resistance there is often a heavy military presence in the village – particularly when villagers organise demonstrations.
It will be our job to be a protective presence in Jayyous and villages nearby that are close to settlements. We will monitor the agricultural gates and the nearby Qalqilya checkpoint, support the Christian Churches in Nablus and generally take part in the life of the village.