Palestinian Jordan Valley: a visit to Khalat Makhoul and En Al Hilwa
We visited families at Khalat Makhoul and En Al Hilwa. Towards the opening of the coming school year, we brought them materials for school, except for the clothes, shoes and toys we usually bring there. We met Najiyah’s new baby boy, Kareem, who was born two weeks ago.
Among others, we visited Bourhan’s family, where we met sweet baby-girl Yakeen. We heard from Bourhan that he is still attacked nearly every day by the settler-colonists of the outpost at Umm Zuka. Although this illegal outpost is permanently inhabited by a single individual, he has expanded, and erected an outpost of an outpost, near Hemdat settler-colony, from which he receives water for both his outposts. And thus one settler-colonist holds two “illegal” outposts and no government body is doing anything against such wild takeover of Palestinian land. Automatically the Palestinian shepherds are prevented from approaching these two outposts, and thus their grazing ground is limited even further. The settler-colonist and the youths who stay with him continue to assault the shepherds on a daily basis.
We drove on the road of Al Malih, a road that does not lead to any settler-colony, and is therefore completely neglected and not maintenance by the Israeli authorities (while it is still considered officially Area C – under total Israeli control). Until lately it has had more potholes than actual asphalted road. And here, to our surprise, someone did fill up the potholes but left the road’s shoulders as potholed as they had been. Driving along, we were taken over by another vehicle on this narrow road and were forced by it to drive on the shoulder. One of our tires was punctured by this and was destroyed. The driver of the overtaking vehicle was courteous enough to stop and tell us we had a punctured tire, but did not offer to help us replace it. And thus my guest had to do this by herself, in extreme heat. I couldn’t be of any use. Towards the end of this saga, a car with 4 young workers on their way home from work stopped near us. Although they don’t know us, they immediately offered their kind help.
At the Zaatara, Hamra and Maale Efrayim checkpoints there was no noticeable military activity.