Saturday, July 21 2012 They’ll Stone You When You’re Trying to Feed Your Sheep by Amitai Ben Abba

“Waaargh!!!” the older settler roars and charges us with a rock in his palm. I am afraid, finding myself behind the camera at a settler attack once again. “We already called the cops, they’re attacking us, stop them!” I shout to the soldiers in the jeep down in the wadi. The settler runs past us to throw the stones at the shepherds and Ada makes a ninja jump, imitates the settler’s roar and starts running after him screaming at him go home, nutcase. Fruitcake. Cupcake. Ada, a brave yoga teacher turning fifty. A self-identified neo-hippie. The situation becomes ridiculous like everything else in this strange world. The image I once had of the Havat Maon guerrilla settlers that jump out of their bewitched JNF forest with covered faces and deadly slingshots is replaced by a mad yarmulke clown gone berserk. “I will butcher you!” he screams at Guy Hircefeld and throws a big rock towards him. Guy dodges the rock, thank goodness. I get it all on tape. With the rush of adrenaline I cannot help but feel a small leap of joy that we’re catching this racist vessel of death for the first time with an uncovered face. The other settler, a blond white boy of 14 seems rather confused, he tries to scatter the goats but fails, Guy is standing in his way not letting him reach the herd. I use the cellphone number I collected last week and call Policeman Ran to send a police car. The terrorist continues throwing stones at the herd, pushing it further down.

Ah, a tinge of inspiration – “It’s terrorism!” I yell to the soldiers. “He’s a terrorist, you must arrest him!” The head of the three turtles is a Segem (low-ranked officer) with camouflage shit sagging lazily over his helmet like some science-fiction slime. As if you could remain from being seen in the desert with a light-green sexy veil designed for American soldiers looking for anti-imperialism and prostitution in Vietnam. I think he had face paint as well. What’s clowning with no face paint? Answer: radicalmonkeyclown flying over the wall in Bil’in. I say something like “they’re here, they know what to do” and feel stupid watching the video a day later. I tried playing the good cop, but I was never any good at it. The Segem told me the police and Civil Administration will come and sort out the land dispute while the stones were still flying. Tayeb. It didn’t last long and the settlers returned to their enchanted forest, a bunch of pine trees planted with the money of philanthropic American Jews or some other neo-Zionist or unsuspecting JNF-donating folks.

Kamel from Maghair al-Abid is our host on his family’s land for the day. He is a sharp-looking, energetic fellow. He smiles bitterly as he tells us that six years ago his mother was shot in the leg. She had to go through operations. The family is unable to supply her with sufficient medicine for it costs 200 NIS a week, an impossible financial burden for a family whose only way out to the city of Yatta goes in the vicinity of Havat Maon outpost. There is a welfare state at Area C beyond the green line, but for Jews only. Unlike us, our hosts are unable to call the cops when they’re attacked. Our social privileges allow us our activism.

The cops arrived and the Civil Administration as well. One of the symbols of the South African apartheid policy was the system of ID’s of the 1950 Population Registration Act. The ID’s would state clearly – black or white – and, unlike human skin, if a person is African or Afrikaner. Likewise, Israeli apartheid uses ID’s to differentiate between Israeli Jews, Palestinian Citizens of Israel, Palestinian Residents of East Jerusalem and Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza. On the bottom of the hierarchical scale is Kamel, who is both Bedouin and a West Bank Palestinian. The police officer that arrived demanded Kamel for an ID, a green ID he did not have with him. We reproached the officer for his warped set of priorities. He didn’t ask us about the attack we’ve just been through, but carried out his concealed official job – to perpetuate a rule of inequality. We feared some major nuisance for Kamel, but he went home safely. The policeman asked the soldiers what happened and looked at our video, and Kamel quietly took the herd back home.

Before filing the complaint, we went through our Italian friends, activists of Operation Dove in a-Twani. Last week I taught Alex how to say, “there are problems with settlers near Havat Maon” in Hebrew. Yesterday (Friday), there were three settler attacks from Havat Maon. During an attack, Alex, who has been with Operation Dove at Twani for a year now, took his cell phone, pretended to say the sentence to the cops and thus scared a settler aggressor back into the forest of racist dementia. Following this major success, I sat down with the Op Dove heroes and gave them a Hebrew lesson. I taught them how to say “we’re calling the police,” “we already called the police” and “go home, you crazy person.” I made a document titled “Hebrew Sentences to Scare Settlers,” that now sits proudly on their humble door.

We walk down the Humra valley down Haruba down between the olive trees. Bob Dylan wrote that they’ll stone you when you’re trying to keep your seat and that e—verybody must get stoned and thus we feel stoned in all directions for they’ll stone you when you try to feed your sheep. Refreshingly, the body is healthy and young and stoned. We caught him red-handed his bare beard visible for the world to see. Guy says, “ooh, they’re angry. If I am happy, they are angry.”

The police station dominating Hebron with sight to both H1 and H2 is the place at which all Palestinians of the Hebron district must file endless pieces of paper with accounts of endless attacks of seemingly endless hatred. Of course, they may have to enter through the settlement Kiryat Arba and or through some ultra-fascist settler neighborhoods within H2 and even then may be refused access to the station or have to wait outside in vein and fear for perceived eternities for they are and always will be security threats to Jews as long as they have these green ID cards. But we privileged ones can enter Kiryat Arba and insist and manage after long heroic arguments led by Ada to park the car within the station and not have it vandalized by settlers.

To the moment of the languid typing of these words, no settler attack was recorded by our Op Dove friends for this week. We might hope that the complaint we filed at the Hebron Station has something to do with it. The bittersweetness of our activism demands some kind of tiny success on the beach of the oil-dark sea of oppression. Please please please let me keep this beach in sight like the beautiful beach of ‘Akka that was not yet vandalized by sewage capitalists.

It is not the right day for a happy-note finale. Ehud Barak, the Israeli Defense Minister, ordered to evict 8 villages in South Hebron Hills that are comfortably situated in a military training zone. It is interesting to note that these villages are not the most politicized villages, generally not in the direct vicinity of settlements and do not often receive visits of Ta’ayush activists. These are also the more populated villages of the area. We’re talking of roughly 1500 people that will lose their lands and homes because soldiers need to play war. I encourage you all to divest from Israeli war-crimes. Here’s another reason for the American reader to cease paying taxes. Please share this information and join the SOS Susya initiative.

Expect another post about Tuesday’s successful direct action at stopping further land theft in Susya. 5 hours from the moment this post is published I’ll be on the way to the wild south again. Another post will cook up. I hope it won’t talk of violent experiences. I hope the words will be like piercing arrows for change.

This post first appeared on Amitai’s blog at