Updated: Apr 22
The residents of the illegal outposts who do not respect law and order suddenly remembered that there is a law and they are trying to use it to profit from their crimes - at the expense of those who are law abiding.
The Jewish shepherds' illegal outposts that have sprung up in the Jordan valley in the recent years, are families who settle in individual settlements without any official approval and yet receive backing from all state institutions. The IDF secures them, the regional councils finance them, paving roads, laying water pipes and electricity cables. From the moment they arrive they make it difficult for the local herding communities in a variety of means: Physical violence towards the herders, expulsion of the herds, damage to property, narrowing of the grazing areas, denial of water and more.
In the north of the valley, a unique criminal method stands out - erecting fences, The brazen ones, without any institutional approval. Cattle fences are being stretched over many kilometers. They don't do it themselves or with their own money - they don't have enough people and money. For the purpose of the work, they use associations of boys who carry the name of Zionism , and in addition they use the youth staying in the outpost for the purpose of rehabilitation. They use the money from donations made by unknown parties who are probably connected to the settler establishment.
Almost all the northern areas of the Valley are a combination of firing zone and nature reserves. The nature reserve in Umm Zoka, for example, is defined as an "ecological corridor", the fence stretches along it for a kilometer without interruption, the PA inspectors neither saw nor heard.
Intensive training has not been carried out for years. Individual infantry training takes place in a very small part of the area. The purpose of preserving the area as a firing zone is to reduce the pasturing area and one more reason for abusing Palestinian shepherds.
The ones who suffer from the outposts and fences are the Palestinian residents of the northern valley who have lived in the area for many years. Some of them for many generations. Until a few years ago, their pastures extended to road 90. The settlements of the area lived in peace with the shepherds around them. The criminals' illegal outposts changed the situation.
The Jordan Valley activists with several other organizations have been trying for several years to fight the outposts in general and the fences in particular by contacting the authorities. A letter that was sent to the Civil Administration about the problem was answered that the fence was indeed illegal and that they would work to remove it "in accordance with the order of priorities". Two years have passed and nothing was done, despite repeated requests. The fence turned into fences, today it surrounds thousands of dunams and continues to grow even these days.
A number of organizations, including us at "Looking the occupation in the eyes", decided to take action and remove these fences. We went out several times and cut the fence, at several points. The police, even though they were present in the area, did not arrest us because there was no reason. We did not damage anyone's property. No one was willing to admit that this is his fence.
Recently, a claim for damages was filed against us by two criminals, Uri Cohen, whose illegal outpost is located in the Nature Reserve, and Asael. Eviction and demolition order is pending against their two outposts, which does not prevent them from growing and prospering.
We will show up bravely in court and demand that the criminals prove ownership of the fences and prove that the fences were built with their money. We demand from the civil administration an answer: whether the fence was approved by law? We demand from the army an answer: how they allow a fence to be built inside a firing zone? We demand from the Nature Reserves an answer: how they allow a fence to be built in the middle of a nature reserve and prevent the passage of animals in the ecological corridor? We demand from the regional council an answer: how these outposts and these fences are allowed to exist on their territory?
We will use our "day in court" to show who is the criminal and who keeps the law. Who supports, encourage and empowers criminals and who fights anarchy.