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Author of AT-TUWANI REFLECTION: Is there peace now?

The CPTnet editor regrets not including the name of Art Gish as the author of

"AT-TUWANI REFLECTION: Is there peace now?"

AT-TUWANI REFLECTION: Is there peace now?

Right after the big meeting in Annapolis, Md., 27 November 2007, I returned to the Middle East for three months of work with Christian Peacemaker Teams. I have been viewing that meeting and President Bush’s recent trip to the Middle East from the perspective of what I see happening in Israel/Palestine. So far, I have not seen one step taken by government authorities here toward peace.

AT-TUWANI: Nonviolent demonstration against roadblock to occur this week

On 6 February 2008, the Israeli military blocked the road near At-Tuwani, using concrete slabs and earth mounds. The road provides the only vehicle access for people in the South Hebron Hills to travel to and from the city of Yatta, which serves as the economic hub for the entire region. This Friday, 29 February, Palestinians in the South Hebron Hills are planning a demonstration against the roadblock just off Route 317.


For days as I walked through the market last month, the Palestinians told me that snow was coming. Beautiful snow eventually covered the hills, homes, and the streets of Hebron. Palestinians, Israeli settlers, and CPTers were snowbound in their homes. Normal snow-related events happened like they do back home: cancelled meetings, stranded travelers, snow shoveling and the delightful sounds of children playing in the snow.

HEBRON POEM/REFLECTION: Normalizing anarchy

Israeli soldiers
M-16s at the ready
form an honor guard
normalizing anarchy

HEBRON UPDATE: 16-31 January 2008

Saturday 19 January
Uhler, Schroeder, and a visiting nonviolence trainer, patrolled along Wadi Al Nasara and spent some time talking with Palestinian children. They observed about thirty teenage Israeli girls gathering in the Wadi. Meanwhile, three Palestinian women and their small children needed to walk down the road, called by the settlers “Worshipper’s Way.” On Shabbat, the Israeli authorities have forbidden Palestinians to use that road, which forces them to walk a somewhat precarious, narrow, dirt path that is parallel to the road.

The girls rushed en masse at the women and CPTers. A general melee ensued with the girls shouting at the group, spitting, pushing, and kicking. By the time Fallon and Wendeln had arrived, a girl had torn off the glasses and hijab (head scarf) of one of the Palestinian women. The assailant broke the glasses and threw them on the ground. Another girl tore off Wendeln’s glasses and threw them on the ground another kicked Fallon, bruising her legs. One girl stole the chip from the CPT visitor’s camera…

Wednesday 23 January

…At dusk, Schroeder, Roe, and Abuata waited for two-and-a-half hours at the Ibrahimi Mosque checkpoint until the military released one Palestinian man. To pass the time away, Abuata suggested Schroeder teach some yoga. As Schroeder taught Abuata and Roe, one soldier did a bit of yoga playfully and said he was now on “the CPT side.” After soldiers released the man, Abuata and Schroeder conversed with the soldiers about the Occupation for about an hour.

BEIT UMMAR: Israeli military arrests approximately forty Palestinians and places village under curfew

At 1:00 a.m. on 13 February, the Israeli military placed the village of Beit Ummar under curfew, arresting approximately forty men between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five and stationing soldiers, along with jeeps and two bulldozers, throughout the village.

Soldiers entered homes and closed off four different areas inside the village, restricting the movement of village residents. The military denied an ambulance entry into village.

HEBRON: Israeli military and police remain passive in the face of settler harassment of Palestinians and internationals

On Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 January 2008, a crowd of Israeli settlers invaded the yard area of a home near the Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba, on the outskirts of Hebron. The settlers threw stones at members of the Abu Siefen family, injuring several people.

AT-TUWANI UPDATE: January 2008

Sunday 27 January 2008
In the morning, CPTers Gish and Tarek Abuata accompanied shepherds on Mshaha. Soldiers arrived soon after and told the shepherds they were not allowed to be in that area, because settlers are not safe if Palestinians are anywhere where they can see the outpost.

Abuata and Gish reminded the soldiers that the Israeli High Court has ruled that the army is obliged to uphold the agricultural rights of Palestinians, including their right to graze their flocks. They also reminded the soldiers that the area is Palestinian land and that the shepherds should be allowed to graze on their own land. A soldier quickly responded, "This is Israel." Gish told the soldier that the land is not Israel, that it is Palestinian territory, that even President George Bush recognizes the area is Palestinian territory. Gish then said, “The real reason for not allowing these shepherds to be on their own land is that you are helping the settlers to steal this land. Do you want peace, or do you want to take the land?”

The soldiers ordered everyone to leave, but a shepherd asked to talk to the commander, or someone from the DCO. At 10:50 a.m., a higher-ranking officer came, took one of the shepherds aside, and threatened to kill the sheep if he sees the shepherd in that area again.



Pray for the Palestinians of the Beqa'a valley adjacent to Hebron. Israel
has ordered the demolition of their clinic and 20 homes. Bulldozers were
seen in the valley this week.