Jordan Valley, accompanied shepherds from Khirbet Makhul

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Ariel F., Shachar Shiloh (reporting) Translation: Bracha Ben-Avraham

This morning we set out to accompany Burhan.  During our phone call to make arrangements Yossi explained that when we escort Burhan he can go further to graze his flocks.   When we called him he said he would meet us at his house, but when we arrived he was already in the field.   By chance we saw him east of the tent camp when we arrived just before he descended to the wadi {riverbed} and out of sight.  


We approached him and he was with his filly and flock in the riverbed that runs towards the army camp.   We saw the horse first because she was tall and  red.  During the morning we walked slowly stopping occasionally.  There were cables running along the riverbed that Burhan said were telephone cables that have been there for 20-30 years.  On the way he told us about instances in which settlers had stolen horses and donkeys.  Once he saw a settler trying to steal a donkey, and when the army arrived he tied it up and told the soldiers that the Palestinians had forgotten it.    Yusuf, Burhan’s brother,  was herding his flock on the other side of the road leading to the settlement of Hemdat to the south.

As we approached the firing range Burhan began to pick up objects with his staff such as a piece of a cardboard carton, a large piece of  aluminum foil,  metal junk, a piece of wood, parts of training grenades, and other objects that were scattered and spent a few minutes piling them up to show that they had been taken care of.  We went as far as the slope south of the target practice area  west of Hemdat.  We let the flocks graze until we reached the burnt hill to the southeast.

On the slope we could see signs of grazing.  Aside from fresh manure we saw the stalks of wild flowers that were now dry and were almost five feet tall.  We also saw cow manure.    Burhan said it came from Um Zuka,  Menachem from the outpost next to Hemdat has sheep.  I asked him if the cow manure helps the grass grow.   He said that it did and that the grass was taller there and that the sheep liked to graze there, but he doesn’t like to go there.  “They can see me,” he explained, pointing to the north towards Um Zuka.    

We began turning back at about 10:00 and arrived about 11:00.  Ariel and I helped Burhan feed and water the animals.  The rest of the family was at Tubas.  After that we drove Burhan, his brother Ashraf, and the two younger children  to Atuf to the grocery store at the entrance to the village.   Atuf is connected to the water system and it was immediately evident that there was a difference between Makhul and Atuf where there are irrigated crops.