Saturday, November 27 2010 Successful plowing in Umm al-Amal

This week we wandered westward to the village Umm al-Amal. Residents of the village requested our assistance in plowing their lands adjacent to the settlement Otniel. After a short discussion with the residents, we set out, escorted by a group of curious and screaming children, to the hill south of the settlement. The lands at the foot of the hill were plowed with the help of a mule, and in parallel we began to mark terraces on the hill itself. At this point a jeep arrived, unloading three soldiers who demanded to see the Palestinians’ identity cards. If not for our insistence, they would have taken the identity cards with them to be checked in the ‘war room’. Instead the cards were returned to their owners. We continued to work, clearing, plowing and sowing. Another jeep joined the first, this one apparently belonging to the security coordinator of Otniel. At the top of the hill a group of settlers and soldiers formed; they consulted, pointing in our direction. There were tens of settlers on the hill.

Surprisingly, the collection of settlers did not this time carry out an armed attack (though they were armed), or an attack of stone-throwing, or even in a closed military zone order. Indeed, this day marked the promising beginning of cooperation with another village. May there be many more.

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