Accompanying Palestinian Shepherds

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A. of Taayush, 2 volunteers from Ireland and Argentina, Nurit Popper (report and photos)` Translated by Tal H.

Khirbet En A Rashash is a group of Bedouin encampments on the hills south of Duma village. Among them passes Wadi Rashash descending steeply to the Fasail springs and continuing from there towards the Jewish settler-colony of Fatzael that enjoys the spring water.

We descend from Allon Road eastward for about 3 km. To the right the road ascends to a deserted Israeli army camp. A turn left leads to the encampments. The Bedouins live on sheep and goat herding. Luscious pasture lies along the hills. All of this calm has been upset lately. An illegal settler-colonist outpost called “Angels of Peace” was put up about two years ago in the deserted army base close to these pastures. Settler-colonists backed up by the army have been harassing the shepherds and chasing them away with their flocks.

Volunteer accompaniers have organized and help these shepherds reach their grazing grounds. Volunteers from Israel and abroad have been mobilized especially for this purpose.

We left at dawn on Friday towards Khirbet En A Rashash. We came in time to leave for the grazing grounds. The area was covered densely with dry thorny vegetation – attesting to the generous rains of last winter. We walked the goat trails to avoid the thorns. After over an hour’s walk we placed ourselves along with the herd that was peacefully eating the dry vegetation. There were no disruptions and time passed calmly. The animals fed and M., a local shepherd for over 20 years, prepared the traditional tea.

Today, luckily, the violent settler-colonist Elhanan and his young son and accompanying soldiers did not show up. M. told us that yesterday his son, who went in his stead with the herd, was sprayed by a settler-colonist with strong gas while out grazing, and had to get back to their encampment. Volunteer women from abroad who have been in the country for about a month have run into settler-colonists and soldiers several times. Once they were also required by soldiers to hand over their IDs for inspection. In the encampment itself things are usually quiet, but once about a month ago a settler-colonist arrived on his mini-tractor to disrupt the night’s rest. Remind them who’s in charge here.

The link to Ilana Hammerman’s writeup “Ethnic Cleansing Continues” of August 29, 2019: