Jordan Valley: the settlers pasture in the Palestinians fields deliberately
Uja, Jordan Valley
Accompanying Palestinian shepherds in the Jordan Valley, just north of Jericho.
We are there from six am, the shepherds got there even earlier, as they do in the hot summer, when they head back home before nine.
The soldiers, as usual, called in by the settler Omer, arrive around 7.30 am. The are a brand new set who are not yet familiar with the realities of the Jordan Valley. But Guy Hirschfeld explains to them (politely) that they are in fact in the service of the illegal settler Omer who set up his farm on stolen land and terrorizes the Bedouin shepherds, intimidating them, killing their sheep while he keeps expanding his farm, taking over more and more land
Is this is what they want to have on their conscience? The soldiers seem to listen, are perhaps uncomfortable with their task.... Is there hope of an awakening to justice in this country?
The soldiers eventually leave without receiving an order to declare the area a closed military zone - but then the sheep had already eaten their fill and were on their way home, as the summer heat becomes unbearable.
West of Kochav HaShahar;
on the way home, we are called in by Rabbi Arik Asherman, who is with the Bedouin near Kochav HaShahar, where hilltop settlers have been grazing their flock on land that is cultivated by the Bedouin. Arik has already called the army, and there are three army vehicles parked by the side of the road.
The Bedouin shepherds, joined by several other Palestinians who have arrived in their own cars, are very upset – this happens almost every day. When we arrive, the settlers are already retreating with their flock. Did the army presence work? Does this mean they won’t come again tomorrow???