AT-TUWANI UPDATE: 18-31 May 2005

CPTnet
6 June 2005

AT-TUWANI UPDATE: 18-31 May 2005

Wednesday, 18 May
At 9:45 a.m., Chelli Stanley met a Palestinian shepherd from Jawiyya at the
Kiryat Arba police station in Hebron. She came in through the Israeli
settler entrance and immediately walked over to the Palestinian entrance
where the shepherd was waiting. The shepherd was there in order to file a
complaint about settlers attacking and killing his sheep on Monday, 16 May.
A few policemen on duty recognized Stanley and got very upset, one asking
angrily, "What are you doing here?" Then they began yelling at the shepherd
for about ten minutes before letting him inside.

Once inside, police continued to shout at the shepherd, assuring him that
despite his being inside, he would have to wait all day before they allowed
him to file the complaint. They suggested he might as well leave right
away. At 3:00 p.m., they took his statement. He identified one of the
settlers who took part in the attack from photographs in the possession of
the police. The police said that they would arrest the settler. Stanley
also showed a videotape with pictures of the dead sheep to the police.

Meanwhile, late in the afternoon, Bill Baldwin and two members of Operation
Dove (OD) were accompanying shepherds in Jawiyya. At 5:00 p.m. a settler
security man came to the area along with four adult settler men, about
twelve to fifteen settler boys, and Israeli soldiers in four military
vehicles. The settlers insisted that the sheep were grazing too close to
the Ma'on settlement. Operation Dove members called the police and
accompanied two of the shepherds to the Kiryat Arba police station to file a
complaint.

Thursday, 19 May
Kristin Anderson, Sally Britton, and Diane Janzen went to Jawiyya to
accompany shepherds who were grazing their flocks on disputed land, the
ownership of which is currently being contested in the Israeli court system.
After a confrontation with Israeli settlers, military, and police, the
shepherds were forced to move their flocks from the area. (See 24 May 2005
CPTnet release, "Israeli military, police and settlers prevent Palestinians
from grazing sheep and goats.")

Friday, 20 May
Midmorning Anderson, Britton, and Janzen accompanied shepherds in Jawiyya,
this time in an area next to the disputed area from the day before.
Nevertheless, the Israeli army monitored the movements of the shepherds and
CPTers throughout the day. At one point, soldiers got out of the vehicle
that they had driven onto the Palestinian field and walked towards the
CPTers and the shepherds. The Israeli soldier commander admitted that the
shepherds were not on the "forbidden" land. CPTers asked the commander why
he was conducting surveillance and he said, "I can come here whenever I
want."

Saturday, 21 May
Anderson, Britton, and Janzen accompanied Palestinian harvesters on fields
near the Havot Ma'on settlement outpost. A journalist visited At-Tuwani to
learn about the situation and to interview Palestinian shepherds affected by
the poisoning of their grazing lands several months earlier. In the
afternoon Anderson and Janzen went to Jawiyya to photograph a sheep which
had died as a result of a settler beating on 16 May 2005.

Sunday, 22 May
Anderson and Janzen heard of a newly demolished Palestinian house in an area
called Khallet Athba and went to investigate. The CPTers were told that
Israeli soldiers arrived there at about 9:30 a.m. in three jeeps along with
a bulldozer and a bagger. They gave the family little time to remove their
belongings before the destruction commenced and took less than a half hour
to level the entire house. The house was relatively new, about seven years
old, and had been built out of stone with a tarpaulin roof. The owner told
the team "Where do we go? We are not making problems. People need to stop
talking about peace. What peace!"

About 3:00 p.m. CPTers and Operation Dove members observed a sudden visit
Israeli police and Civil Administration officials made to At Tuwani.
Villagers reported later to the internationals that the main purpose of the
meeting was to try to intimidate the villagers into forcing the
internationals to leave. The Israeli officials told the villagers, once
again, that the internationals were "causing problems" in the area. The
officials also told the villagers that they (the police) would be better
able to help them if the villagers simply took pictures of each incident
with settlers, and the police would put the settlers responsible in jail
"for a very long time." The villagers said that they told the police and
Civil Administration officials that they did not believe them, that only
since the internationals have been living in the village has the situation
for the villagers improved. The villagers then told the internationals that
they wanted them to stay.

Monday, 23 May
About 9:00 a.m. Anderson and Janzen and Operation Dove members were called
to a field in Jawiyya where settlers were harvesting wheat by hand. The
field lies in area currently under dispute in the Israeli court system (See
above.)

At the same time more settlers and Palestinians began converging on the
field. The two groups yelled at and shoved each other. Israeli army,
police, and settler security vehicles arrived. In about fifteen minutes, at
least fifteen settlers gathered and continued to cut the wheat, stuffing it
into large bags. Although the police and soldiers told the settlers to stop
harvesting, they did nothing to force the settlers to quit. Eventually the
Israeli police handcuffed and arrested two settlers. After being
handcuffed, one of the settlers escaped from the police and led them on a
chase through the hills, twice. The policemen later took the arrested
settlers to the Kiryat Arba police station.

After about forty minutes, the Israeli police ordered the Palestinians to
move further back from the confrontation area. At about the same time, the
police detained one Palestinian. Soon after that the military declared the
contested area a closed military zone, and threatened to arrest the
internationals and the Palestinians if they did not leave the area. The
Palestinians refused to leave, saying that the police should release the
detained Palestinian first. The police told the Palestinians and
internationals that they were arresting the detained Palestinian and taking
him to the Kiryat Arba police station. Soldiers and police then loaded the
bags of harvested w