Palestinian Jordan Valley: A moving encounter of Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinians of the West Bank

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Rina Tzur (report) and 4 guests, Translation T.H

The guests who joined me today are three members of a Palestinian family from the northern part of Israel. Three weeks ago the mother joined us for a visit to the Palestinian Jordan Valley. She was deeply impressed by what she had seen, could not believe that her people were coping so bravely with so many hardships, harassment and obstacles in order to barely survive. She said that every member of her family and circle of friends whom she told of the situation of shepherds in the region burst out in tears. How wonderful of her to come and see it with her own eyes – such a human, sensitive, special woman who was not only affected by what she had seen but had to do something.

This time she brought along her son, a lawyer, and her small grandson, so they too could see things as they are with their own eyes.

We visited several families. Ties that were created immediately between the shepherd families and the guests – who come from a well-to-do and educated environment in Israel – ties of language, culture and nationhood are highly significant for both sides. The guests brought along gifts and toys for the children. The small grandson was excited by life alongside so many animals. They went home with a pair of doves (to the grandson’s delight), free-range eggs and goat cheese, gifts from their hosts.

We also visited Haj Sami Sadiq, council head of the village of Aqaba.

Our Palestinian guest from Israel promised to visit again and bring with her more people from her circle of friends. I trust her, and hopefully another group of people will become actively involved in what’s happening now with the shepherd communities of the Palestinian Jordan Valley.

Maale Efrayim Checkpoint 10:15

As we arrived, four women-soldiers were stopping Palestinian vehicles for checkpoint inspections. Five cars were waiting in line. We – with our Israeli license plates (yellow) – were directed to bypass the checkpoint because we belong to the “chosen people” (see license plates…). The other checkpoints we passed did not show any military activity.