Angela Merkel has demonstrated the power of Western leaders by threatening to cut short her visit if the army go ahead with the planned demolition of the Bedouin village of Khan al Ahmar this week.
The army turned up at 4 am and remained parked on the main road for half an hour (see below), but then as quickly as they came they left.
Villagers put up posters of the German chancellor in the hope that she would persuade the Israelis to call off the bulldozers already on site, ready to raze their homes and their famous mud-and-tyre school to the ground.
Sadly there is no evidence that Angela Merkel or any other European leader will make anything more than verbal protests when, as now seems inevitable, the bulldozers move in.
Meanwhile a strange lake has appeared in the desert, caused by a leak from the nearby settlement’s sewage pipe. At first the villagers thought this was another Israeli stratagem to encourage them to leave, but now the lake is being drained.
Last week the army put up notices ordering villagers to demolish their own houses by Monday. Hundreds of activists and journalists gathered in the village for the expected confrontation.
Short of a dramatic intervention by the UK or another European country, they now expect demolition to start soon after Mrs Merkel leaves.