Palestinian Jorden Valley: The Israeli army in the service of the settlers
0600 - 0930
Accompanying Palestinian shepherds from Auja, near Jericho –
The army comes after us as we park at the monument for the helicopter accident (nun-dalet), declaring it is 'in principle' a closed military zone. Again the army in service of the unauthorized settlement of Omer's Farm - they go out of their way to chase us, keep us away, wasting a lot of gas driving their jeeps around, a lot of human resources, paperwork - this is what the IDF does to defend Israel.
As they do not have the order to show us, we join a shepherd across the wadi, on another hill - where there is barely any grass - but the sheep make do. The three soldiers stay at the monument, and just wait. Watching us from a distance.
Another jeep appears, much later, with the order - by then we are in the grazing lands outside the closed area - and all the army can do is ask us to move our two cars. In the meantime they have called the police, but they too cannot do anything against us.
At nine am, the shepherd starts to go home and we leave, without further incident. On the way to our cars, we notice that Omer is developing another area in the wadi below the area he has appropriated for his farm – with long water pipes to fill drinking troughs for his sheep and holds in the ground to plant more trees – complete with a watering system.
In other words, he is expanding his territory, and so will certainly try to get the army to close more areas to the shepherds.