Wednesday, May 02, 2007

At-Tuwani: "Palestinians are grazing in places they haven't set foot in years" (CPTnet)

The following blog entries by CPTer Heidi Schramm have been edited for length. To see her original entries and accompanying photos go to

4th March 2007
I've been thinking a lot about what it is that I am doing here, and I worry that this work is creating a sort of stalemate. The settlers are lying low, but they are still here. There is no pressing need for Israel to evacuate the outpost, let alone the major settlements in the area, as long as things are reasonably quiet. Unfortunately, there is no public outcry when children (and internationals) aren't being attacked. Without that pressing need, the government and military can continue to put off making decisions indefinitely. And while they do that, the settlers become more established. Look at the settlement block east of Jerusalem; it is not just right-wing Zionists who are now saying these settlements "are Israel" and must be on the Israeli side of any future border. It is the predominant opinion. It only got to be that way because the government intentionally neglected to take a stand, for or against, the settlement movement, allowing the radical factions to create the facts that are assumed today. And this is now happening within the occupation as a whole. It has become accepted that this is how it is and how it must be. And for all the speaking out I do against this occupation, I can't help but feel like I'm playing too big of a role in its continuation. Scanning through past entries, I see that I consider days when the settlers stay in the outpost to be "good" ones. But these people shouldn't be here at all, and I cannot allow myself to lose sight of that. They live on land owned by a man from Tuba; not in Israel.

7th March 2007
We went out near the Avigail outpost today because settlers were grazing their horses in a Palestinian wheat field. They did an incredible amount of damage in the few hours they were there. We are approaching harvest time here, and the wheat has finally begun to grow, so there is no chance that it can recover from the damage before it is time to pick. The landowner called the police and was told he had to come in to the station near Hebron to file a complaint. So he and a few family members went. After being made to wait for a few hours they were told to come back with evidence. Naturally, this is where we come in. It was late by the time we got back, so we uploaded the video, made some DVDs and they will return to the station tomorrow.

Our days have been full but relatively calm. I spend most of my time honing my shepherding skills and have even, on occasion, been charged with the task of retrieving sheep that wander away from the flock. The settlers have been out but not pushing much. The truth is, they have access to less land today than ever before. The Palestinians are grazing in places they haven't set foot in years. And the police and soldiers are allowing it.

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