Do Unto Others focuses on the Middle East, (nonviolent) social movements, and how I make sense of my place in the world. I'm currently based in Cairo, Egypt doing peacebuilding and community development.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Israeli Settler Hits Sheep with his Assault Rifle

I shot this video (because when shooting, one should use a camera, not a gun) and edited it. Myself and a CPT colleague, were providing accompaniment to a family who routinely graze their flock near the settlement of Ma'on. The Ma'on settlement security guard often creates problems for them.

After the video ends, I began running towards the flock, young boys, and Gadalia. Gadalia was following the boys as they ran the flock in the direction of their village. When I eventually caught up with Gadalia, he was headed back to his car.

"Gadalia, why did you hit the sheep with your rifle?" --No Response.

"Gadalia, why did you hit the sheep with your rifle, are you afraid they will hurt you?" --Gadalia, who was walking in front of me and to my left, stopped abruptly and lurched towards me, bumping into me, suggesting I needed to stop following him.

"Do you see Palestinians chasing the settler's sheep off of the land and hitting and kicking their sheep?" --No response. "No, you don't," I suggest.

"You are supposed to be protecting the people in the settlement, that's your job, but I think you are actually doing the opposite. When you do this kind of thing to people, you increase the likelihood that they will respond. You know you can only push people so far, Gadalia."

Gadalia turns to me abruptly with his index finger pointing into the air, and says, "I will take that as a threat."

"As a threat? Why?"

"Yes I am calling the police and saying that you delivered a death threat."

"I have the whole thing on tape, I did not threaten you, I said that you can only push people so far. That's not a threat."

At that point I decided it wasn't worth debating with this guy. I mean, the only time he responded to me was when he said he was calling the police because I made a death threat against him.

Worth noting is that settlement security guards' salaries are paid by the Israeli military. So this is a settler, living in Ma'on, who is an employee of the Israeli Defense Forces.

Editor's Note: The next day, Gadalia tried to chase the same sheep with his car. He drove nearly 100 meters away from the settler bypass road to chase the sheep. He became frustrated with me as I jumped in front of his car, moving side to side as he tried to steer around me. He gave up trying to get around me; and instead made a few radio calls and took my mug shot. So hopefully the judges would score these two days: Gadalia - 1, Sam and the shepherds - 1. I am ready for the rubber match.


Kay said...

Hi Sam! I appreciate so much what you are doing! But please be careful when you are in front of a car. On tape he appears not to be mentally stable and could possibly just run you down. An idea: somehow get him to go toward you but instead into a huge hole or ditch!

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is the biggest non-issue video I have ever seen. A bunch of sheep were headed into a road (where a van drove by a minute later) and a guard shooed them away from the road. Did you actually watch the video? He didn't hit them with the rifle, he poked them with it. Seeing as how he didn't have a shepherd's staff, poking them with a rifle was the best he could do. You'd rather he let them wander into the road and cause a car crash?

BTW, "you can only push people so far" when said face to face is a threat.

eatyourveggies said...

Thank you for the important work you are doing! I run a youth activist summer camp in California ( and am inspired by your commitment to this critically important cause!

-Nora from San Francisco

Samuel Nichols said...

Kay and Nora, thanks for your encouragement. I will keep up the activism and writing. The comments help me to remember the blog isn't a big black hole like it often feels.

Anonymous (why are these type of comments always anonymous?), rather than the singular, non-issue video, you tried to portray, I would like to tell you what I see happening in the south hebron hills of Palestine. It isn't a non-issue and this isn't an isolated incident, but rather, it's systematic discrimination and ethnic cleansing.

This particular settlement security guard, seen in the video, routinely chases Palestinians off land that they legally own. He uses his M-16 along with the assistance of Police and Military to illegally remove Palestinians from their farming and grazing areas. I have seen him call the army to have Palestinians arrested for simply shepherding their flocks. Also, the shepherds were both about 8 years old, and they were being chased by a grown man with an M-16.

One of the sheep miscarried the next day, very possibly related to the stressful event that this settler perpetrated. He wasn't trying to keep them out of the road, he was trying to harass the sheep and Palestinian shepherds. The shepherds only went towards the road to try to escape from the settler.

I was there, I filmed it. Sorry, but your analysis is poor.