Homsa 'Jordan Valley: Collecting the hay left after the demolition of the houses

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Miki Fisher (reporting) and a group of shepherd accompanying activists; Tal H. translated

Thanks to MK Gabi Lasky we received permission to enter the inactive firing zone, without which we are forbidden entry. Our point was to gather the sheep feed purchased by the shepherds, which remained on the ground after the cruel expulsion of the Humsa community to its temporary new dwelling site.

At dusk we passed by Tzvia’s place and picked up the pick-up truck and trailer to load the feed, and were on our way.

On the ground, at 8 a.m. we met brothers N. and A. who asked our help. The military jeep was already waiting to check our IDs and the Palestinians’, allowed to enter the firing zone, and were warned that our permission runs out at 3 p.m.

We entered with a tractor and the jeep, both with trailers, and jointly, with great efforts, managed to load piles of feed for about 2-3 hours, each pile weighing about 500 kilos. This is mainly a man’s job, and Inbal’s – who used thinking skills based on mechanical physics… I was the ant trying to push. Not certain that the piles felt it.

We then drove to another place that had 10-kilo piles. Some of them had loosened but we managed to save many others and load the wagons. There was another large pile left on the ground that we did not manage to transport, we might do this on another work day, before the first rain falls.

On the ground we sadly saw the demolition of the homes and tents, the parts of furniture and kitchen cruelly demolished by the army bulldozers about 2 months ago, without letting anyone take anything away.

Coming back, we saw a guy on donkey-back who turned out to be the brother of N. and A., with a long line of about 300 sheep walking back home. He left early in the morning and went many kilometers to look for grass in the hills distant from the firing zone, to have the sheep feed mainly on dry grass.

The brunch without which N., A. and their families would not let us leave, was served in the meager temporary tent in which about 20 family members live crowded together, without separation between children and adults. We were told that the cost of a large bale of feed is about 5,000 shekels, and a small one about 100 shekels, in addition to what the sheep eat as they graze. The uncle who was present added that it would be hard to maintenance the flock – their main source of livelihood. In their former place, they have plenty of room for grazing, but in the present place they sow winter crops that do not need irrigation, so there is no more room for grass for the sheep. In the meantime, their will to survive is strong and they do not give up, trying to make a shelter from the sweltering sun for the sheep by putting up tarpaulins, and are also trying to obtain nylon sheets to fence in the temporary goat corral.

Wishing for better days, the annulment of firing zones and nature reserves that serve as a bureaucratic tool to push the Palestinians out of Area C., and for the end of occupation – if not now, then next year in built-up Palestine.