Haaretz, Feb 15, 2017


Since early January, Ibrahim has been trying to reach his plot to plow and sow his crops. However, this task seems too complicated for the bureaucracy linking the military brigade commander and the District Coordination and Liaison Office. The request was received; no it wasn’t; they knew who dealt with it; they didn’t know. The army said last week that a request to plow and sow the fields had been received. Then the rains started and the plowing was postponed. Ibrahim is stubborn, but what happens if his sons aren’t as stubborn?

In the northern Jordan Valley there are two new unauthorized outposts. They are thriving and expanding under the eyes of the authorities. They are also adopting methods that were used so successfully in the “Shiloh Valley.” One outpost is at Tel al-Hima and the other is at Umm Zuka. The pattern is the same: two adults, a flock of sheep or herd of cows, and a group of smiling and hormone-primed youngsters, some of whom are yeshiva dropouts. Together they form ripples of terror, ever expanding in an attempt to chase away shepherds, all the way to their encampments.

On Saturday, three settlers at Umm Zuka demanded that three shepherds move away. When they refused, settlement outpost members summoned soldiers, who tied up two of the shepherds. Activists from Ta’ayush, Machsom Watch and Combatants for Peace have joined shepherds in the northern Jordan Valley, in the knowledge that the presence of left-wing Israeli Jews makes ethnic cleansing more difficult. But they are few. The Judeo-Samarians rule, since they are the government’s emissaries.