Jordan Valley, Uja: Yellow and dry in front of lush green

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Michal Wiener, Nurit Budinsky, Miki Fisher (reporting), Tal H translated

Today we accompanied the four flocks of the men and women shepherds from Auja – Umm Ahmad, Umm Rashed, Abu Ismail and Ismail. They have about 100 sheep in each flock, exited their home in the village exactly at 5 a.m., walked about 5 km in the dark and reached their dry and arid grazing fields after about an hour.

At 8 a.m. we already began to walk back because the sun was up and the sheep were hungry and thirsty. Grazing was unhampered by the settler-colonists, but the ground was barren and there was nearly nothing for the sheep flocks to feed on.

We watched with envy and loathing the green-green groves, plentifully irrigated with water flowing in the pipes of the Mekorot water company to the illegal Omer Ranch. This outpost is expanding swiftly and reducing the meager grazing grounds that have been left for the flocks of the poor Palestinian shepherds.

We gave Umm Ahmad and Umm Rashed a ride home in our rented, air-conditioned car, and their flocks returned with their swift footed young sons. We stayed for a cup of coffee and prayed in our hearts for the end of this cruel occupation and for the built-up Palestine next year… One day our hopes and that of the Palestinians is bound to come true.