Sunday, January 20, 2008

It feels wonderful to be back in at-Tuwani after a month away. When I left, the ground was brown and bare, but now the hills are covered with tiny, miraculous green shoots. The winter rain has come (though not nearly enough of it has arrived) and the brush that was picked clean once again has thistles enough for shepherds to return to grazing their sheep. I’ve spent the last few days catching up on all that I have missed while I’ve been away - and trying to keep up with all that’s been going here. We have been extremely busy. Settlers have been harassing and threatening Palestinians with a vengeance, probably in hopes of showing Palestinians that they will be attacked if they graze “too close” to the settlement. But Palestinians shepherds have been pushing back by grazing their sheep on hills and in valleys that the settlement is trying to annex, or rather, steal. As usual, I’m amazed by the bravery these shepherds. And I’m pretty well sick of running after jeeps and settlers. But I’m have been enjoying a precious, rare feeling of hope - the villages of the South Hebron Hills are resisting and they aren’t allowing themselves to be pushed around.

There is simply no way that I can recount the events of the last ten days, so here are some links to the press releases that we’ve sent out:

Settlers fire on Palestinians in the South Hebron Hills

Cistern contaminated in Humra Valley

Additionally, olive trees have been destroyed (probably by settlers), soldier have threatened Palestinian shepherds with arrest just for grazing their sheep, settlers have approached shepherds with clubs, though they turned back, thank God, and settlers stole a donkey from a Palestinian farmer living in Tuba. Oh, and I almost forget, Israeli soldiers "mooned" (exposed their bums) to Palestinians and CPTers. We happen to have an excellent video of their display, which we hope to post soon. Yes, we've laughed about this a lot, but it's really not funny. Palestinians in the area were rather horrified, as in an Islamic context it's shameful to see someone else's nudity. But our neighbors have asked us to share our video with as many people as possible. And so we will.

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