Monday, October 8

Jayyus; Poor Bureaucracy or Intentional Injustice?

We recently visited the town of Jayyus. It's in the northern West Bank and is mainly an agricultural town. MCC would like to provide funding for farmers in Jayyus to upgrade their current wells. The machinery they have is extremely inefficient and very expensive to run. MCC has been working with the Palestinian Hydrology Group to fund this project and help make water accessible to people that need it. Imagine not having easy access to water...and then imagine you have a whole farm to take care of! It's easy to see how MCC, through this project, has the opportunity to improve the quality of life for a lot of people.
Another aspect of the situation here which we were exposed to was the difficulty in moving from place to place. Israel has built a separation barrier around much of the West Bank. In some places it's a huge concrete wall, and in others, like near Jayyus, it's an electrified fence with barbed wire. To cross this barrier into farmland that they once had free access to, residents of Jayyus must get permits from the Israeli government. Often permits are simply not given or are given only to old men who are unable to work the land (for example, of the 3,500 inhabitants of Jayyus only 150 have permits that allow them through the fence onto their farmland). So is the Israeli government just really bad at judging character and really believes all those people they deny permits to are a security threat? Or are they intentionally denying permits for other reasons?

Another aspect of the conflict here involves ownership of land. Near Jayyus, the Green Line (provide a link) and the separation barrier are extremely far apart. The location of the barrier as it pertains to Jayyus was done without consulting the citizens of Jayyus. Imagine if your neighbor built his fence partly on your yard without checking to see if you minded; it would certainly make being ‘neighborly’ difficult (If you're able, blow up the picture. You can see the Green Line because it's actually green on the map, and the separation barrier is the bright dirt road that winds it's way through the picture.). Under certain laws, land that is left dormant for a specified amount of time may be taken by the government.

Currently, farmers from Jayyus that would like to work their land are unable to because of a lack of permits; their land is lying fallow and is in possible danger of being seized.

e that are allowed onto their land seem to be doing a good job.

If you are one of the people who happen to have been born in Jayyus or live there and have always been a farmer, what are you to do now that you are not allowed to get to your farm? Where do you go to get a job or make a better life for your family? Options are extremely limited, even for those that are educated. This is just one of the ways MCC is working in Israel/Palestine to build God's kingdom and bring relief to people that are suffering.

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