Israeli Border Police proceeds in demolitions at the Israeli outpost of Havat Ma’on (Hill 833)
During the demolition two Palestinian shepherds were beaten by IDF soldiers in a nearby village and the military escort charged of protecting Palestinian children from settlers’ attacks did not show up
At-Tuwani – On May 28, Israeli forces went inside Havat Ma’on Israeli outpost to demolish one or more structures. The Border Police hired massive forces in the whole area, including the nearby Palestinian village of At Tuwani, disrupting the Palestinian daily life and restricting the freedom of movement for Palestinians who live in the area.
After 10 a.m., Operation Dove volunteers saw two Border Police buses, a bulldozer, two DCO (District Coordination Office) vehicles and a great number of Border policemen breaking in Havat Ma’on.
In the meantime, internationals were waiting with the schoolchildren from Tuba and Maghayir al Abeed for the Israeli military escort that should have accompanied them back home. After several calls to the DCL (District Coordination Liaison), the Israeli Army informed them that the escort would not arrive. Two Operation Dove volunteers accompanied them back home, passing through a longer but still dangerous way, very close to the Israeli outpost of Havat Ma’on. The children were exposed to a serious risk, as there have been many violent attacks on them in the past by israeli settlers.
While the volunteers were accompanying the children to Tuba, Palestinians informed them about an extremely violent event that took place in Tuba, a Palestinian village nearby Havat Ma’on: two Palestinian shepherds were seriously beaten by two IDF soldiers while detained for about 30 minutes.
Eventually, some hours after the demolition two flying check-points held by the Border Police blocked the way to At-Tuwani from Al Birkeh and vice versa, delaying passage for people and vehicles. The check-points are still there to this moment.
According to Sasson Report, which was published in March 2005, Havat Ma’on (Hill 833) was established for the first time in September 1999, evacuated and demolished in December 1999 and rebuilt at the beginning of 2000 occupying a woodland. From that time the outpost expanded outwards with the addition of at least ten structures, visible from outside, as reported by Operation Dove in the past. Since 2000 this is the first concrete action taken by the Israeli government against Havat Ma’on expansion.
However, the local Palestinian communities of the area are worried because they expect an increase in settler violence as a consequence of the demolition that occurred yesterday.
The Palestinian communities of the South Hebron Hills area are still strongly involved using the nonviolence as a way to resist to the occupation.
Operation Dove has maintained an international presence in At-Tuwani and South Hebron Hills since 2004.
[Note: According to the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Hague Regulations, the International Court of Justice, and several United Nations resolutions, all Israeli settlements and outposts in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are illegal. Most settlement outposts, including Havat Ma’on (Hill 833), are considered illegal also under Israeli law.]