Z. went to pasture with his herd and a donkey. The IDF confiscated some of the animals, which were not seen since

One morning in February, Z., a villager in the Hebron region, took out his herd to pasture, together with another herdsman, A. Several hours later, they noticed IDF soldiers on practice, and decided to keep their distance from them. At about 14:00, they noticed several young Palestinians stealing the empty shells, probably in order to sell them for scrap metal. An army jeep went in pursuit, in vain.

About an hour later, at about 15:00, Z. thought his day would end well: his sheep gave birth to two new kids. He put the kids in his donkeys’ saddle bags, and then everything went wrong. A military Hummer stopped next to him, and the soldiers asked him what he knew about the stolen shells. One of them, who spoke Arabic, also pointed a gun at him. Z. swore he knew nothing of it, that he was just trying to herd his flock. He then noticed that his herd was mixing with A.’s, and asked for permission to go and separate the herds. When he came back, he found that the Hummer was gone – along with his donkey (still carrying two newborn kids) and a goat.

Z. went to the training area, and found his goat and donkey. The goat was on the vehicle, the donkey was tied to it. But the soldiers refused to turn them over, and again pointed guns at him. Later, they left towards their base. Then dusk came, and Z. had to return to his village. He called the DCO, as well as an Israeli human rights activist, who also spoke to the military. Z. later called an Israeli DCO officer, who called him back at 21:00 and told him the soldiers returned the animals to the place they were taken from. Z., however, couldn’t go there at night; he was told that the soldiers gave the animals to some children who were present.

The human rights activist was told by the Civil Administration that yes, “there was a screw-up”, and that the soldiers involved would be punished by their commander. The Civil Administration officer further claimed the animals were returned to the place they were taken from, and that the herdsmen were involved in stealing the shells. The activist asked why they weren’t detained, then. He did not receive a satisfactory answer.

Neither the donkey, nor the goat, nor the two new kids were seen since. Nobody saw soldiers giving animals to children who were miraculously present at a pasture late at night, either. And that’s it: the animals were gone.

In a well-established state, when a soldier or a policeman confiscates property, he provides the owner with a receipt. I guess this basic protocol is not common among our brave troops. It’s only Palestinians, after all. What are they going to do? File a complaint?