A. takes us on a “tour” around the area on the way to his groves today. We get on his own tractor for that, so again today we endure a rocky path, although today it is a different one. We then see a different portion of the wall that has the form of a fortified road. A. also shows us the single well that “produces” the water that irrigates all the land that we can see, plus the Israeli settlement. He stops the tractor and shows us the water meters. He explains that the Israeli soldiers check them often, at least once a week, to see whether the Palestinians use more water than they are allowed.

He also shows us the permit that allows him but not his sons nor his wife to get through the gate he needs to go through to his land. The permit is written only in Hebrew, which is a bit of a shock, knowing that it is for a Palestinian, and that in cities like Jerusalem all sign posts are in Hebrew, Arabic and English. He explains to us what is included on the permit paper: the name of the person who is allowed through the gate, the number of the gate, the dates they are allowed to get through, whether they are allowed to spend the night in their land or not… Most farmers are not allowed to stay overnight on their own lands.

Some of these peasants understand Hebrew, if they have previously worked in Israel. But most do not speak it; they have always spoken Arabic. So this document is not meant to be a communication between the state and the farmers; it is literally a means of communication between the Israeli authorities and the soldiers, and the Palestinians have no choice but to trust that what is said to them is what it says.

So if one day the soldier says that according to this document they can not get through any gate, the Palestinians can not even contest it – although even if they can speak Hebrew and can discuss it, A. says that each soldier is an official, and that whatever will be allowed that day depends on that day’s soldier’s mood.

We get on the tractor again and soon we see some farmers tending their land. Nothing seems to be planted in the soil yet; it seems they are sewing some seeds while also preparing the furrows so that the water can make it from the main stream to each plant – all without any irrigation machinery. And it all reminds me of the history lessons back in school, about the Spanish Queen and King who wanted to get rid of all the non-Christian population in Spain but had to allow to remain one in every ten Arab families because apparently they were the only ones able to work the land and manage the scarce water for irrigation.

A. takes us, then, near to the Green Line, where the wall should stand if Israel respected the treaties it has signed. We get just as close as we can get, because between the Green Line and the actual wall there is quite a distance – and at least we can see it from here; in other parts, the distance is such, you can not see the Green Line from the actual wall. In this part, the “wall” is secured by two barbed wire fences separated by a few feet of razor wire coils. One of the fences appears to be electrified, or at least it has some kind of electronic sensory equipment. Fig 17.

When we arrive at his land we get a surprise because there are no olive trees there, but orange trees. He explains that he used to have vegetables, but with all that gates and permission business his vegetables got rotten in the soil because he was not allowed to enter his own land when they were ready to be harvested, and they always went off, so he planted trees. Trees do not need so much attention and regular care and irrigation.

We harvest two full buckets of mandarins each and A. insists that we keep a good few of them.

Then we go to where the uprooted olive trees used to be, the ones on the pictures of the first night. Today, small shoots of new trees are peaking through the ground from the remnants of the root systems. Fig 18

There are quite a few people in the shed when we get there, just before dark. M. has given a lift to the people who will take over from us. We will probably leave tomorrow but tonight we are having a nice family meal that A.’s wife has cooked at home.

As an Israeli citizen, M. has a car with a EU-looking number plate with the “I” for Israel on it that gives him access to the Israeli, perfectly asphalted roads, and the right to go through checkpoints without getting off his car.

Like us, he uses his privileges to try and make Palestinians’ lives a bit more bearable. Unlike us, he does it every day of his life, not just a few weeks or months.

The rest of the people at the table are members of CCPT that have already known A. and his wife for some time. Some one makes a comment about the amount of food that A. is giving us, and he explains a bit of his Islamic religious obligations, something about making three parts of everything he ever receives as a present, giving one third to the poor and sharing another third, and this is the third part of a camel he’s been given that he is sharing. Or something like that.

We then talk about what we have seen today and J. summarises at the end: “All the settlements in the Palestinian side of the ‘Green Line’ are illegal according to the Geneva Conventions, which prohibit occupation forces of an occupation to transfer their civil population to occupied territories. And the United Nations have clarified that the West Bank and Gaza are occupied territories and therefore they should submit to the international law on occupied territories.” Response: “yes, but when has Israel honoured the international treaties, including those that it has signed?”