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Settlers from Mitzpe Yair attack Palestinian shepherds grazing on Palestinian owned land during Purim

Operation Dove | March 16, 2014

At-Tuwani, Occupied Palestine – On Sunday March 16, during the Jewish holiday of Purim, Israeli settlers attacked Palestinians and Internationals on Palestinian fields near Mitzpe Yair illegal outpost.

In the morning, four Palestinian shepherds from the village of Qawawis were grazing their flocks south of the Israeli outpost of Mitzpe Yair, when a settler arrived armed with an iron pipe to threaten them shouting. At 9:18 am two Internationals arrived together with two further Palestinian shepherds. The armed Israeli settler then left when he saw that they were filming the scene.

At 9:28 am eight settlers arrived from the illegal outpost – one was still armed with the iron pipe – and four of them violently chased away the flocks, pushing them toward the valley underlying the outpost. Palestinian shepherds followed the settlers in order not to lose their flocks accompanied by Internationals. The Palestinians immediately called the Israeli police.

At 9:48 am the settlers came back to the outpost. In the meantime, an additional International and two Palestinian members of the South Hebron Hills Popular Committee arrived at the scene. At 10:00 am one of the settlers tried to chase away one of the newly-arrived Palestinians, a member of the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem. As this happened, an Israeli policeman and three Israeli soldiers arrived by foot. At 10:20 am, as the policeman began interrogating the attendants, a further three settlers arrived. Those interrogated were the Palestinian shepherd Nail Abuaram (who filmed everything with a B’Tselem camera) and one International.

At 10:45 am, the policeman lead Abuaram and one of the Internationals to Kiryat Arba police station to give testimony of the harassments. They arrived at the station at noon.

The International was asked for the camera footage of the incident, interrogated and finally released at around 2:50 pm. Abuaram was interrogated alone for a couple of hours and was threaten of arrest until he accepted to sign a paper stating that he will not get closer than 450 meters to the area where the harassment took place for a period of 15 days. He was later released around 6:00 pm after signing the paper. The Israeli police forced the settler who attacked the Palestinians with an iron pipe to stay 200 meters far from the spot where the harassment took place for a period of 15 days.

Palestinian communities of the South Hebron Hills area are strongly involved in using nonviolence as a way to resist the Israeli occupation.

Operation Dove has maintained an international presence in At-Tuwani and the 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.]

March 18, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Video | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli military detains driver, confiscates vehicle donated for transport of schoolchildren in South Hebron Hills

CPTnet | November 19,  2013

On 18 November 2013 at 11:00, Mufid Abu Qbeita—the driver for the students who live in the South Hebron Hills area that the Israeli military has designated as “Firing Zone 918”—was driving children back to their homes from Al Fakheit school. Israeli Security Forces and representatives of the Israeli Civil Administration stopped him near Al-Sfai, one of the villages in the Firing Zone, while he had six children in the car.

Soldiers took his ID and detained him for thirty minutes; afterwards, they told him to follow them to Gush Etzion Police Station. Two soldiers accompanied Abu Qbeita in the car. He had to leave all six children in Al-Sfai.

Abu Qbeita informed the soldiers that the jeep belonged to the Palestinian Ministry of Education and was donated by Japan, but they still forced him to drive to the settlement of Gush Etzion. After several hours, they released him, but the jeep remains at the police station. When Abu Qbeita asked why the soldiers had confiscated the jeep, they answered, “Because you were driving in the firing zone of the South Hebron Hills which is not allowed.”

CPT, EAPPI and Operation Dove take turns accompanying Abu Qbeita and the SUV from the city of Yatta into the Firing Zone during the week, in order to prevent incidents like the above occurring, but until recently, once in the zone, he had not faced problems. On 27 October, eight Israeli soldiers detained him, verbally abused him, and then beat him on his abdomen, face, and back. Afterwards, they forced him drive over spikes used to stop vehicles at army checkpoints to puncture the SUV’s tires.

November 19, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

SOUTH HEBRON HILLS: Despite court order, Israeli military intimidates villagers in ‘Firing Zone 918’

CPTnet | October 31, 2013

In spite of the Israeli Defense Minister’s acceptance of the mediation proposal by the Israeli High Court to find a solution with the Palestinians [in the region] about the Israeli military’s use of Firing Zone 918, the pressure of the army on the local inhabitants does not decrease.

According to eyewitnesses, on Sunday, 20 October more than 300 soldiers arrived at the Israeli military base close to the villages of Jinba and Mirkez.  Some of them invaded fields between the two Palestinian villages and camped there.  For all the week, they did military drills in the area and invaded the Palestinian villages.  During the drills, soldiers broke into the village of Jinba, entering into private properties, preventing some Palestinian shepherds from grazing their sheep on Palestinian fields, intimidating and scaring the inhabitants. On the nights of Thursday 24 and Friday 25, the soldiers trained around the Palestinian village of Halaweh.  On the night of Wednesday 23, the soldiers entered in the houses of the Palestinian village of Al Mirkez, ransacking homes.

Finally, on Sunday, 27 October, eight Israeli soldiers stopped and detained the Palestinian who drives the school transport jeep around Masafer Yatta for the Palestinian Ministry of Education.  Every day he accompanies the elementary schoolchildren on their way from several remote villages to their school in Al Fakheit village.  The soldiers forced the driver to get out of the car; then they questioned him.  Moreover, the soldiers shouted at him and insulted him, and beat him on his abdomen, face and back.  Later, they forced the driver to get in the car and drive on the spikes used at army checkpoints in order to puncture the tires.

Despite the fact that the Ministry of Defence accepted the mediation with the [South Hebron Hills] Palestinians proposed by High Court of Justice, the Israeli government is continuing its policy of threats against the Masafer Yatta inhabitants.

The Italian peace group Operation Dove lives and works in the South Hebron Hills village of At-Tuwani. Christian Peacemaker Teams, Operation Dove, and EAPPI share responsibility for accompanying a vehicle intended for the transport of school children into an area of the South Hebron Hills the Israeli military has designated as “Firing Zone 918.”  The Operation Dove report has been edited by CPT for clarity.

November 1, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Leave a comment

PALESTINE: Tent for school children demolished hours after it was built

CPTnet | March 16, 2013

On 16 March 2013 the South Hebron Hills Popular Committee built a tent to protect school children from Tuba and Maghayir Al Abeed while they wait for their military escort. Hours after the ceremonious construction of the tent — attended by villagers, school children, internationals and various media outlets — was over, the Israeli military demolished the tent and arrested one of the internationals present.

The schoolchildren coming from Tuba and Maghayire Al Abeed walk between the Israeli settlement of Ma’on and the outpost of Havat Ma’on in order to get to school in At-Tuwani. Since 2001 settlers have repeatedly attacked the children along this route, preventing most of the children, who feared for their safety, from being able to attend school. In 2004 volunteers from Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) and Operation Dove began accompanying the children along the path, but the violent attacks continued. These attacks brought the matter to the attention of the Children Rights Committee of the Knesset, which established in November 2004 a military escort to protect the children.

Since November 2004, CPT and Operation Dove have constantly monitored the military escort, documenting the failures of the Israeli army as well as settler violence toward the children. During the school year 2011-2012, the volunteers of Operation Dove and CPT published a report, The Dangerous Road to Education, which found that in 35% of cases the military escort was late. In addition, in 48% of cases, the military escort arrived late after school, forcing the children to wait for a total time of about 21 hours. There is nothing to shelter the children, some as young as six years old, from the elements as they wait for their unpunctual military escort.

The Popular Committee wanted to give the children a tent to shelter them while they wait. The event had around one hundred in attendance. These included some of the children whom the tent was being made for, teachers and administrators from the school, CPT and other international organizations, Palestinians from At-Tuwani and surrounding villagers and the media. The crowd was immediately met by soldiers who filmed all the attendees and took down Palestinian flags that children had put up around the building area. The children played and chanted in front of the soldiers while settlers on the next hilltop yelled down at them, “Kill all the Arabs.” The tent was completed and christened “Michele’s tent” after the late daughter of the Italian woman who funded the project.

As the afternoon wore on the crowd started to leave. Two hours after the tent was build the Israeli military demolished it and arrested one of the international volunteers who had remained there. The volunteer was released, but must leave the West Bank for two weeks. The Popular Committee plans to rebuild the tent, but as for now the schoolchildren will have to wait out in the rain when they return to school on Sunday.

March 16, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment