I came to Tulkarem this morning to take part in a festival in the green olive groves of Farawn marking the official opening of the harvest fe Phulisteen. I’ve been in the South all this time that I forgot how different from the North it is. The North, especially near Jenin, is what I have in my memories. Deep, red, powerful soil, flowers everywhere you look, and lush greenery. Hundreds of people were spread within the trees today. Many school children running around (somehow, in the burning hot sun), university students, government officials (the prime minister was present), international activists, and villagers.
There were people dancing the dabkeh, a beautiful stallion, women in traditional dress, and speeches. Lots of laughing, and everyone was fed with last year’s olives, and this year’s FRESH olive oil, tomatoes, and cucumbers…..
Then we went on a little tour of Farawn and Tulkarem…
Then my relative and also one of the leaders of the ISM, introduced us to Fayiz Aoudy who gave us a tour of his farm. He used to have 30 durhams of land, and now only has 14 because the wall cut right through it. An incredibly toxic Israeli chemical factory was also placed on his farm, and beside the village (Israel wouldn’t poison their own people). It has all Palestinian workers, and 6 have died already from the bad conditions.
It shoots out black smoke. Apparently the wind blows West, away from his farm, all year except for 40 days in May. He complained that for these 40 days his farm is polluted but the courts refused to recognize there was a connection. An Israeli flower farmer right beside Fayiz, on the other side of the wall, went and complained the smoke was ruining his flowers, and the factory agreed not to create smoke for those 40 days of the year. So they will stop the pollution for some Israeli flowers but don’t care that their factory is poisoning the 67,000 people East of the factory, that receive the smoke 320 days of the year.