Settler violence: There is a war raging in Gaza - another in the West Bank: that of Jewish settlers against the Palestinians

Because everything looks the same in the black, Shi'b al Batum looks like a peaceful village at night.

Settler violence: There is a war raging in Gaza - another in the West Bank: that of Jewish settlers against the Palestinians

Because everything looks the same in the black, Shi'b al Batum looks like a peaceful village at night. The contours of a hill ridge. Stones and sand. In the sky the shining crescent moon and the rumble of army planes, like everywhere in Israel and the West Bank these days. There is a scratching sound coming from the stable, then a quiet donkey neighing. A few of the younger villagers are still sitting on red plastic chairs around the campfire at three in the morning. They play video games on their cell phones, sip sweet tea, smoke hookah.

Suddenly the sound of an engine comes from somewhere. On the hill opposite the village, a rattling tiny point of light moves downhill and uphill again. It is the night patrol of the Jewish settlement of Abigail, from which the villages in the area have repeatedly been attacked by extremists. After a few moments the engine stops again. Breathe a sigh of relief. The night passes quietly.

Anyone in Israel and the Palestinian territories who wants to find out about the future of the country should look for answers not in Tel Aviv, but in the villages of the West Bank. Developments that will later affect the entire country usually begin in small places like Shi'b al Batum, in villages where no one looks for a long time.

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