Ujah Jordan Valley: The army receives orders from law-breaking settlers
When we arrived at 07:00 there were three flocks grazing. Um Rashid’s flock was on a hill on which Omer Atidia from the illegal outpost has established a restaurant. Evidently a lot of people come there on Fridays and Saturdays because the hill overlooks the road leading to the 54. Um Rashid were letting their flock graze on the hill about 100 meters away. We joined Abu Ismail and his son who were letting their flocks graze on the opposite hill. All was quiet until 08:00 when an army jeep suddenly arrived. A female officer and soldier got out and approached Um Rashid.
Nava and I hurried to find out what was going on. When we began to walk we saw the soldiers motioning to Um Rashid to move to the opposite hill. At the other side of the road to the 54 the soldier talked to them in fluent Arabic that sounded as if it were his mother tongue. It sounded as if he were demanding that they leave the area with their flock and return to the pasture next to their home. Um Rashid and her son attempted to argue but the soldier persisted, while the officer remained silent.
I approached the soldier and asked why he was evicting them. He explained that he was not evicting them, but merely “demanding” that they leave. I asked him if he had an eviction order and I ;think he said that he didn’t need one. I asked whether he had received orders to evict them from the settler Omer, or from his commander. He answered that they were Omer and the army were the same thing. I asked to see an eviction order because without one he had no right to evict them, but he refused to relate to what I asked.
I turned to the officer and asked her if she had an eviction order. She said that she was waiting for a WhatsApp message. I also told her that without an eviction order they had no right to demand that the shepherds leave the area. She answered that she was not doing that. I told her that the soldier under her command was doing that and that she must ask him to stop. She filled her mouth with water instead.
Um Rashid and her son had no choice and they left. After succeeding in evicting them the soldiers said they would go and evict the other shepherd as well.
We began to walk towards Abu Ismail, but the soldiers, who were undoubtedly laughing at us, jeered and got into their command car and left.