October 21st, 2010
At-Tuwani – On Thursday, 21st October, at around 9.20 am, two Operation Dove volunteers, who were coming back to the village of At-Tuwani after having visited some Palestinian families in the village of Tuba, have been attacked by Israeli settlers from the illegal outpost of Havat Ma’on (Hill 833).
While walking, the internationals received a phone call by a Palestinian shepherd who was with his flock on a upper hill and warned them about some settlers who were quickly approaching. Few minutes after the phone call, two settlers with faces covered by t-shirts, appeared on the top of Meshaha hill where the internationals were walking. The settlers started to throw stones with slingshots against the internationals who quickly ran away trying to avoid hits.
Later on, few minutes after 1 pm, in the same area, a similar incident happened to a Palestinian boy who was walking back home through the path on Meshaha hill. Two Operation Dove volunteers were on the top of the close Kharrouba hill to monitor the afternoon military escort of the school children from Tuba and Maghayir al Abeed when they saw an Israeli settler quickly coming out from the outpost, covering his face and calling reinforcements. Few minutes later, three more masked settlers appeared on the top of Meshaha hill and, together with the first settler, started to throw stones against the Palestinian. The boy, after running down in the valley, joined the internationals on Kharrouba hill and stayed with them until the settlers disappeared inside the outpost.
Israeli soldiers, who reached the place because called by the settlers, asked internationals what happened and if, according to them, the problems were in some way connected with the Palestinian olive picking activity. The commander then declared he was not proud of the settlers behavior and suggested the internationals to call the police every time something similar happens.
After the settlers attacked At-Tuwani village on June 12th 2010 (see press release at: http://snipurl.com/xluyo), internationals living in the area didn’t document any other aggression during the summer. This latest events, preceded by the aggression of the 12th of October when two Israeli masked settlers chased two Palestinian young men and threw them stones, seem significant of a renewal of violence by settlers.
These kind of incidents are frequent in the South Hebron Hills area, where national-religious settlers from settlements and outposts use to attack shepherds and farmers to intimidate and drive them to abandon their land. This illegal actions usually remain unpunished and, in many cases, happen with the complicity of Israeli army and police. The Palestinian community of this area chose to resist the continuous abuses of Israeli settlers and military with nonviolence.
Operation Dove and Christian Peacemaker Teams have maintained an international presence in At-Tuwani and South Hebron Hills since 2004.