Trip of Jews in the Jordan Valley Ein Sakhut: It's all ours

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Rachel Afek

The Palestinian Jordan Valley is dry. Reddish sky. Everything is yellow and brown with green stains, occasional green fields and vineyards. It’s hot. The spreading Corona-virus will lock down everything here for 5 days. What happens then? Who has answers about the future after 5 days? Or at all?

A day earlier, while M. was in his car alone, he was fined 570 NIS by an Israeli policeman for not wearing a mask…

In a passing encounter with Israelis at the Sakut spring I learned that Jewish Israeli settlers from Ariel, or Jerusalemites, have no idea what annexation means. They are not familiar with Areas A, B, C, don’t understand what human rights mean. But they do know that God bequeathed this land to us. Such a strange conversation with one of the women taught me that they are “Shasniks” (Mizrahi religious Jews), ‘Simple people who simply do what their rabbi decides they should”, she explained. “Don’t get upset with what he (her husband) is saying, it’s not serious”.

Anyway, they were so curious about the Palestinians who were with me, that finally they agreed that there’s a problem that needs solving. That “they” (Palestinians) too deserve to live like human beings.

“But Rachel, why are they blowing up our buses?” That’s their basic knowledge of the conflict.

Well, I flattened the discourse. But mostly I understood that they inhabit a parallel universe, but are open to listen, and will accept logical, humane solutions. Shasniks. Not Bibi-ists.

And then came two Jewish settler-colonists from Beit Hadassa (settler-colony in Hebron). Dressed as secret servicemen. And disappeared two minutes later. Only the protesting look, saying “You’re the worst”… They were also two Jews with a water pipe, who cooperated with the Shasniks saying “But, Rachel…” and not knowing how to continue.

Later that day, in Azoun, Q. told me (as I “questioned” him after he was released from 10 days’ detention at Huwwara) that he was treated there like a dog. He came to the Qalqiliya DCO as the secret service ordered him to do. From there he was taken by jeep to Tzufin, for questioning. From there to Huwwara, which was their change to curse him and his mother and father and beat him up. Kick him. He can hardly go into precise details. At Huwwara he was alone for days in a tiny, empty room. Disgusting food. Questionings. Remand by zoom, waiting for it all to end. One day before another remand, he was released at night. Just like that. Go. Look for your way home.

I thought, or rather I knew, that we know that this is what every Palestinian gets. Beaten up. Arrested. Waiting. Feeling like a dog.

Now he has become the Palestinian of whom Israel expects things.