Palestinian Hamra: accompanying shepherds in the rain

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Rachel A. (reporting) Gil and Ben accompany the shepherds, Dana Y. (translating)

We went out to accompany Mo'in in Hamra.

Near the Palestinian settlement of Hamra sits the illegal outpost of Moshe Sharvit, who excels in a multitude of disturbances to the neighbors. They live up the mountain and the outpost has been established at its foot. Due to this Mo'in is accompanied by the volunteers every possible day. Hamra is located on the western side of Alon Road, and belongs, municipally, to the Nablus area.

The grazing area is mountainous, towering over the valley, with a beautiful view. The roads leading to it are impassable for a regular car on rainy winter days. And so we park the vehicle near the water pools of the Jewish Hamra that resides nearby and walk towards the mountain to meet Mo'in.

Moin is a lone shepherd and very glad for our assistance. The day is cold and intermittently rainy. Heavy clouds can be seen coming from the west. One of them decided to demolish us. There is no way to escape it but to the car that is downhill. Fully drenched, Ben and I reached the car, while Gil stayed with the shepherd. Water doesn’t scare them. In fact, we were also called to help one of the other shepherds. The wild winds had blown half the roofing off the sheep pen. The woman who was alone in mid-feeding of the lambs was very frightened by the incident and I thought it would be more appropriate to come to their aid. What's more, grazing in the rain seems like an unpleasant option

We had a hard time deciding. On the one hand, we felt we should complete the task for which we came: supporting the shepherd who grazes alone in an area he feels is dangerous, while on the other hand we were struggling to stay in the rain without shelter or proper clothing, as neither raincoat nor waterproof shoes or umbrella were available. We found a solution. And so the grazing continued as usual, and while I couldn’t really help repair the roof, I did provide a little reassurance to the frightened landlady. The life of the shepherds is difficult. Sometimes the elements, both nature, and human cruelty turn on them and make it tough.



On the way to the valley, a truck carrying an entire hut drove in front of us. We followed the truck until it turned right at the Gitit junction while we turned left. Probably in the direction of some settlement. Maybe Fatzael thought those who were with me.

At the end of the day at about 5 o'clock, the Hamra checkpoint was inspecting cars one by one and a long line of cars was waiting for their turn. Like every time you go there in the afternoon. Palestinians returning from work from the Jordan Valley toward the West Bank. I wonder why should they be checked.