6 October 2018, Jordan Valley, West Bank, Occupied Palestinian Territories: “When we go down they say ‘go up’, when we go up they say ‘go down’, when we go south they say ‘go north’. We don’t know where to go,” explain Deab Abu Malik (right) and Abu Okab (left) as the EAs arrive in their small community in the morning. Ecumenical Accompaniers from the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine in Israel accompany shepherds in many parts of the West Bank, providing an international presence known to have a mitigating effect on confrontations between Israeli settlers and the Palestinians. EAs' presence also helps Palestinians access lands they otherwise might not have dared to continue to cultivate. In the West Bank’s Area C, any land that isn’t cultivated for a period of three years becomes property of the state, the shepherds explain, so accessing their lands regularly is vital for the communities and their herds.
- Albin Hillert, all rights reserved
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