HEBRON DISTRICT: Joe Carr's letter from al-Tuwani

CPTnet
October 13, 2004

HEBRON DISTRICT: Joe Carr's letter from al-Tuwani

[Note: the following is an excerpt from a letter that Hebron Team member Joe
Carr wrote to his supporters. Carr joined the team in al-Tuwani after
September 29 and October 9 attacks on CPTers, Operation Dove members and
field workers from Amnesty International who were accompanying children to
school.]

October 13

I arrived in Tuwani a few days ago to fill the gap left by the attacks. The
first day . . . Israeli activists worked to get the Israeli army and police
to protect [the children], and we saw several jeeps and hummers roaming
around the area as we walked. But on the way back, a commander, Ophir,
approached us and told us they would not protect the children as long as
members of CPT or Ta'ayush are with them . . . If we leave, they said they
would promise to protect the children . . . The villagers decided it was
worth a try, but [told us] we should watch from a near-by hill to be sure
everything was ok. [T]he army did not show up that afternoon, so we
proceeded to walk them home. On the way back, we were cut off by an army
jeep and out stepped Ophir. He informed us that this was now also a closed
military zone, and that we would not be allowed to escort the children. I
asked him what would happen if we did it anyway, and he said he would ask us
nicely not to, and then he would ask us "not so nicely".

. . . We decided to escort the children "the long way", which is a
round-about journey, over mountains with no path or road. This went fine in
the morning and that afternoon. An Israeli activist from Machsoum
(Checkpoint) Watch and a Palestinian community leader decided to challenge
the military order, and drive on the road that goes by the settlement. When
they were stopped by soldiers, the Israeli woman succeeded in getting a
commander to promise to actually escort the children . . .

Yesterday, a man from the Israeli Civil Administration met with some Tuwani
community leaders. "Tuwani is getting an awful lot of attention" he said,
"what is it you want?" They told him of the problems of [settlers poisoning
their] water supply, the lack of roads, and the issues facing the children
getting to school. He promised to get motions underway to build more roads
that connect the villages, and get them permits for the clinic and other
structures they need. This information is encouraging to the villagers, but
they have very little trust . . .

This morning, the children set off for school with a Palestinian man from
Tuba, but were confronted by a group of settlers with dogs. The soldiers who
were parked nearby intervened, prevented any violence, and got the children
to school. But of course now the children are too afraid to use that road
. . .

Seeing Hafez, one of our close friends here, talk to Israeli soldiers is
incredible. His house has a demolition order, and soldiers have repeatedly
invaded his house and forced him to remove all his belongings . . . But when
we encounter soldiers, he speaks to them with courage and authority. . . If
he can stand up to them, so can I.

Thanks for all your notes, thoughts and prayers.

With love

-joe