Jordan Valley: A female soldier accuses the shepherds' companions: "You destroyed the valley.."

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Chibi and Menachem, Shepherds’ Escorts, Rachel Afek (Reporting and Photos) Translation: Bracha Ben-Avraham

When we first arrived in the morning we witnessed an incident concerning a Palestinian herd of cows that the army had moved and impounded near the settlement of Hemdat.   The settlers claimed that the cows had been wandering near the road and endangering passing cars, and had therefore called the army.  For some reason, Uri from Um Zuka was also involved in the incident.  The Palestinian owner of the herd claimed that the herd had been stolen by the settlers.  The shepherd was not present at the time.   


The police interrogated the owner of the herd.  The settlers and the army sauntered around like they owned the place while the police did their duty.  We were blamed as being responsible for the situation in the valley.  A woman soldier shouted at me, “You’ve ruined the valley” and other things.

Eventually the cows were released and returned to the place in the pasture where they had been before.  Later in the day Mahdi told me that at the beginning of the war they had been forbidden to cross the Alon Road from east to west and they consequently have no area to graze the herd.  The herd had been in the pasture before the Gaza war and would therefore remain there and has not yet been returned to the community. There are different shepherds in the pasture every day. 

On our way back we were told that the police had looked for the shepherd and not found him.  They picked up someone else and drove him out and left him on Route 90 twenty kilometers from his home.  We drove there to collect him   Another two shepherds joined him who had been in the field.  We therefore got to the place where we had intended to get to in the first place.    

A Day Shift in Farsia – The police were also there and wanted to arrest A. because he had allowed the herd to graze his herd close to the settlement.  He had let the herd graze on the eastern side of the Alon Road which is closer to his home than to the settlement at the top of the mountain.   He argued with them for a half hour and then took the herd northward.  This was the place we had intended to reach in the first place and we accompanied him for a while.  

While we were sitting down to rest a white tender arrived (like the ones Hamas had used in the attack on the Gaza periphery settlements).  Two men dressed in civilian clothes got out and showed us police ID cards.  They asked to see our ID cards.  We asked them questions.  They said that they were police detectives and it took them a long time to check our ID cards.  They eventually returned them and continued on their way to bother someone else.    We went to see if the settlers had entered the Palestinian’s village.  By the time we arrived they were no longer there.  A woman with whom we sat for a while to rest said that they come every day. They come and harass, making noise, causing panic. They are usually the same three sons of the person in charge of security in the settlement of Rotem.  

We helped with what needed to be done in Farsia by feeding the sheep and playing with the children. We left just before it got dark at 17:00.

The video about the event can be viewed on Facebook: ⁨ ⁨