Thursday, October 20, 2005
CPT Report from At-Tuwani
BACKGROUND On Wednesday, October 19 both Israeli settlers and Israeli military sources said that settlers from Ma'on settlement were planning an attack on the village of At-Tuwani. Even with this knowledge, Israeli military sources said specifically that the Israeli military would not protect At-Tuwani village. Christian Peacemaker Teams issued an Urgent Action appeal (text below) asking you to call Israeli military officers and Israeli embassies to demand that the Israeli military fulfill its obligation to protect all people under its jurisdiction in the occupied West Bank, and to question theIsraeli military statements that they would not protect At-Tuwani against settler violence.
UPDATE Between 9:30 and 10pm Wednesday night several Israeli military vehicles arrived in At-Tuwani. One parked between Ma'on settlement and the closest houses of At-Tuwani. Another Israeli military vehicle parked at the main entrance to Ma'on settlement. At 10pm, Israeli police arrived in At-Tuwani. During the night and Thursday during the day there has been a continuing Israeli military presence along Route 317, in the village of At-Tuwani, and around the settlement of Ma'on. There was no attack by settlers as of 4pm local time Thursday.Because the Israeli military has stopped escorting the primary school students from the village of Tuba, the children made a circuitous trip to school on donkeys Thursday. THANK YOU! We are grateful for all the calls you made. We believe that the critical message that your calls conveyed is that the world is watching and people are aware of events in the South Hebron Hills, and this attention helped convince the Israeli authorities to respond to the threat of violence. We are aware that many of your calls were answered by Israeli military officers unhappy to be called during the night. We trust they realize that theywould not have been getting these calls if the Israeli military had not said it would leave Palestinian villages exposed to settler violence. Rich MeyerHebron/Tuwani Team SupportChristian Peacemaker Teams
19 October 2005 AT-TUWANI URGENT ACTION: Demand Israeli Military Control Settler Violence
On Sunday, 16 October three Israeli settler youths were killed and one was injured in a drive-by shooting on the by-pass road from Hebron to Jerusalem. All four youths were residents of Ma'on and two other settlements in the south Hebron hills, close to the village of At-Tuwani. These settlements are home to some of the most radical, violent settlers in the West Bank. The gunmen have not been caught, although two different Palestinian organizations have claimed responsibility. No At-Tuwani resident was involved.
The Jewish holiday of Succoth began Monday evening at sundown and in the following days CPTers observed more settlers in the area. On Wednesday morning, settler security from Ma'on approached CPTers Diana Zimmerman and Jenny Elliot while they were waiting on a hillside next to Ma'on for thechildren from Tuba. Settler security informed CPTers that settlers were gathering in Ma'on, that settlers were angry and looking for a fight, and that if CPT didn't leave the hill immediately "there would be violence". The Israeli military escort for the school children of Tuba was cancelled. Zimmerman and Elliot returned to the village of At-Tuwani and gave this information to the villagers.
At sundown Wednesday (about 5:15PM) CPTers spotted at least eight settler vehicles driving through At-Tuwani and up the hill toward the outpost ofHavot Ma'on (Hill 833). None of the vehicles stopped in At-Tuwani. At 7:00PM CPT received a phone call from the Israeli peace group Ta'ayush to pass on information from the Israeli military (this information was also confirmed by the Israeli organization Machsom Watch) that: 1. school security escorts by the Israeli army and police for the children from Tuba are suspended indefinitely due to "security reasons"; 2. the settlers are making plans to come down to At-Tuwani and start trouble this evening; and 3. there is no way the Israeli army can control the settlers if they attackthe village.
CPTers and the villagers of At-Tuwani ask you to call the following individuals in the Israeli military to demand that the Israeli military fulfill its obligation to protect all people under its jurisdiction in the occupied West Bank. Ask them why the Israeli military made statements that they would do nothing to intervene in the case of violence againstPalestinians.
Christian Peacemaker Teams is an ecumenical initiative to support violence reduction efforts around the world. To learn more about CPT's peacemaking work, please visit our website at: http://www.cpt.org. Photos of our projects may be viewed at: http://www.cpt.org/gallery