Al Mufaqarah; Shepherds in Palestine Struggling to Exist

This series comes from a friend on the ground in Mufaqara, Palestine. We wish to share his writings and photos in order to give an in depth look at a lived experience in a conflict-affected area, delving into the issues around food and agriculture as appropriate.  Enjoy!

Part 1
Introduction to the little village that wouldn’t give up.


This map shows the location of Mufaqara. It has no label in Google Maps.

Mufaqara is a small village in West Bank, Palestine. Surrounded by the hostile Israeli army and aggressive, armed, Israeli civilians, the village of shepherds is putting up an unusually determined fight for its existence. For those of us familiar with the story of Asterix and Obelix the comparison is unavoidable. Continue reading

Ownership of Land

Walking towards the disputed olive
orchard.

We are in Teqoa, Palestine, southeast of Bethlehem. I thought we were just getting out to change vehicles. I wasn’t expecting anything to happen. The military wasn’t expecting anything either.

It turns out that Teqoa farmers have been denied access to their olive trees for between ten and seven years. No doubt the situation came to a crisis with well known and technically unsolved murder of Koby Mandell and Yosef Ishran next to the settlement. An unsolved murder, is however, a distant and mostly irrelevant excuse to steal land from some farmers and today, the olive orchardists are going to re-claim their land and their trees. We are here to accompany them into the forbidden zone. The presence of foreigners makes the farmers feel more secure against illegal violence from the military and settlers.

Continue reading