The colonist outposts’ “bravery” – threats, intimidation and daily harassment of shepherds in Hamra

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Ma’ayan Eshel, Maya, Miky Fisher (reporting)
Seriously? Does this make us safer? Jewish Terror

We were summoned to Hamra and were asked to spend time with the women of the family at home and in Mu’ayin’s encampment. The previous day, these were harassed harshly on the their own threshold by the colonists of Cucu’s outpost (the outpost “helping” Moshe Sharvit’s outpost). The Mu’ayin residential compound is located on the Hamra uphill slope, in the northern Palestinian Jordan Valley, inside Area B. Driving we take a winding dirt track, not for delicate urban vehicles. The families living there have been suffering for some years from harassment by the colonists of the “Emeq Tirtza outpost of Moshe Sharvit, as well as the colonist Coco’s. These two outposts are illegal, naturally, but thanks to the God that has chosen the Jewish People, they get electricity, water and other services. They have even opened a tourism enterprise that offers various ecological services (only for Jews, of course). Moshe and his people harass the local Palestinian shepherds daily, limit their grazing grounds, and do this by all means available to them – from curses to dispersing Palestinian flocks with air blowers, ATVs, clubs etc. Israeli accompaniers of Palestinian shepherds have also known their violence first-hand, but at least they may summon Israeli police in order to have it return Moshe and his buddies into “their” colonist outpost.

The situation has worsened lately. There is no more grass left around Hamra, so the shepherds have moved north towards Jenin for the summer. Only women and children were left in the encampment, in order to guard the home against the colonists’ harassment. The women – F., Shihdi’s second wife, N. and W., his sisters, and another six children. The men took most of the livestock with them and probably rented a plot of land for temporary vegetable growing. About 50 sheep were left with the women.

The women are harshly harassed every single day. The “hill youth” sit in their grounds along with Moshe Sharvit close to the compound, or reach the threshold of the women’s home, and threaten both verbally and with weapons. The women are very scared but still withstand these threats.

On our way to the encampment, we saw the little children walking to their school at

En Shibli, over a kilometer away. As soon as we got to the encampment, we were offered tea. A. who spent a sleepless night retired in order to get some sleep. N. had already left for her university studies. F., older than everyone, continued her daily chores that had begun at 6 a.m. She filled the troughs with water, scattered feed and almond peels for the flock, and refused our offers to help (we are guests, after all…). She also took all 50 sheep out of their pen to feed.

We managed to see something of the colonists’ “bravery”. While sipping our tea we saw two “hill youths” seated demonstratively on the opposite hill and watching us for about 25 minutes. They must have identified us and did not want us to summon the police. The left and did not return as long as we were there.

F. shared her life story with us. She came from Jenin about 15 years ago, after being married off to Shihdi. She had three children during that time, now 10 to 13 years old. She is busy all day, and has trouble sleeping at night because of the nearby colonist outpost. She kept watching the sheep so they would not cross the 50-meter radius around the troughs, where there is still some green grass. Every step out of it immediately gets Moshe and his cohorts towards the encampment. On Monday, the Coco boys actually came to her threshold and she had to yell at them until they left.

After getting the sheep back into the pen, F. hurried off to bake bread and make a meal for the children who were to come home from school. She would continue to help them do their homework and watch over them. She has no phone – perhaps Shihdi took it, perhaps it has been broken. Anyway, only when Shihi comes and brings feed she takes the opportunity to call her family. For three months, since the men have left, she has not visited the family in Jenin. She has a hard time, clearly, but is modest and does not brag about her daily bravery. Soon W. will marry and move to Tubas, and then only two women will be left.

It is sad and painful to hear the women’s story, as they do not get their real place and appreciation due them in rural Palestine’s patriarchal society. At 12-o’clock neighbor ‘A. arrived. She also said that Moshe has been harassing her family daily, even coming on his ATV into their courtyard and threshold. On Monday he must have gone wild yelling, cursing her husband, and when she tried to stop him, he ran over her foot. We recorded her and even filmed her swollen foot. We shall pass these on to the human rights foundation run by Jewish and Arab lawyers, in order to see if this could be investigated. The olive harvest is about to begin at her family’s grove in Salem village and her husband will be going there for a week. She has begged us to come and sleep over at her place at that time. So please, anyone who can do this – please inform the placement committee, also for the real heroines and especially F. who has remained behind from the Shihdi and Mu’ayin family.