Guarding Cultivated Palestinian Fields against Settler Herds

(with Ta’ayush and Torat Tzedek)

Settlers arriving over the ridge with their flock as the sun rises

Settlers arriving over the ridge with their flock as the sun rises

Settlers from the outpost of Ma'ale Shlomo, adjacent to the settlement of Rimonim, have been consistently bringing their sheep to graze on land that is cultivated by shepherds from Dir J'rir. Today our presence kept the settlers at a distance - we saw them coming over the ridge, just as the sun was coming up on this hazy, hamsin day, but this time they did not go down into the cultivated valley. Perhaps because we arrived there first.

the two young settler boys (often dropout kids who do not fit into any other framework) on the hill across us, while their sheep graze..

the two young settler boys (often dropout kids who do not fit into any other framework) on the hill across us, while their sheep graze..

One of the Palestinian shepherds remarked "why don't they stay near their outpost, there is so much land around there, whey do they have to come here, in our valley?". But that is exactly the point - herding sheep is another tactic of settlers to expand their control over the occupied territories - sheep can go far and wide, driving the Palestinians further and further away, so that in the end Area C will be free of Palestinians, which works fine in the eyes of the Israeli authorities, without them having to do the dirty work of expulsion themselves.

Palestinian herders looking over the land they cultivate to feed their sheep in seasons when grazing is scarce

Palestinian herders looking over the land they cultivate to feed their sheep in seasons when grazing is scarce

Dir J'rir july 17 19-1816.jpg

Most of the Palestinian herds started to leave early, around eight o'clock on this day that was supposed to register record temperatures, but the settlers remained across the valley. We feared they would go down into the cultivated fields, and so we stayed on, standing in positions that were clearly visible to them, until, they too started to move away. One little battle won today. But we know they will be back, and so will we.

Dir J'rir july 17 19-1833.jpg





IT'S ALL ABOUT WATER

At the end of 2016, yet another illegal outpost in the hills overlooking the Jordan Valley came into being, located in the Um Zuka nature reserve, not far from an army base and firing range. Nature reserves in the occupied territories, just as firing zones, are often a tactic to limit the movements of Palestinian herders, keeping them off their lands, while not preventing the establishment of Jewish settlements.

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