Al-Auja: Life could be so nice and simple!

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Michal Weiner (reporting) and photos, Nurit Bodinsky, Translation: Bracha Ben-Avraham

We left Tel Aviv at 04:30 AM.  The weather was hot and humid.  We arrived at Uja at 06:30 greeted by a cool and arid weather.   We were met by four flocks that belonged to two women and their oldest sons – Um A, Um R, and two flocks herded by the father Abu A and his son A.

The grass was yellow but evidently the sheep are used to it and were nibbling quietly all around. 

Abu A and his son stayed with their flocks and did not cross Ha-nun Dalet Memorial Monument Road.  The two women crossed the road to look for better grass.   Abu A claimed that the settler named Omer would not hurt the women, but if the men crossed the road he would beat them with his fists or with a club.  There is still plenty of grass, but Omer’s large farm elicits jealousy and anger. The farm extends over hundreds of dunams [a dunam is a quarter of an acre] with green orchards that are watered by the taxes that all of us pay.   Their objective is clearly to confiscate the land dunam by dunam and to evict the Palestinians from their villages where they were born.    

The rising sun and calm grazing sheep provided a pastoral atmosphere for a few hours.  Far off, under the restaurant's awning, we saw several settlers moving about, but they did not approach us.   

By 08:00 the weather had already changed.  The shepherds began gathering their flocks and prepared to return to their homes three or four kilometers away.  Another quiet day passed for the flocks. 

We collected Um R and Um A in our car and brought them home while their oldest sons who are 14 and 16 years old brought the flocks back.  

We weren't allowed to leave without a light breakfast at Um R’s house of fresh cheese, pita, tea, and coffee.  Life could be so nice and simple!