AT-TUWANI UPDATE: 28 August - 10 September, 2005
13 September 2005
AT-TUWANI UPDATE: 28 August - 10 September, 2005
Internationals accompanied shepherds on Humra hill in the morning.
Afterwards they visited the cave village of Mufakara and returned the cell
phone of one of the residents. At times, residents in the villages without
electricity leave their cell phones at the Christian Peacemaker
Team/Operation Dove house. The phones are recharged during the four hour
period that At-Tuwani has generator-powered electricity each evening.
In the evening at a village meeting, the residents of At-Tuwani decided to
discontinue the night watch. The villagers felt that the imminent threat of
Israeli settler violence had passed. The internationals agreed to continue
keeping cameras, flashlights and cell phones with them at night in order to
respond quickly if summoned.
After an uneventful morning accompanying shepherds on the Humra hill, Diane
Janzen and Diana Zimmerman spent the day near the village school. The
village mayor requested an international presence while workers constructed
a play area for the children. The owners of the heavy equipment were
hesitant to work in At-Tuwani without internationals present, because of
possible Israeli military harassment. The days work occurred without
incident. In the evening Janzen rode with the neighbor who was taking the
workmen home. They asked her to accompany them because it was after dark.
Both the morning accompaniment of shepherds and the presence during work at
the school occurred without incident.
While accompanying the shepherds in the morning, internationals noticed
settler security watching them and the village for about ten minutes.
Approximately thirty minutes later, an army vehicle entered the village and
asked the workers at the school if they had permission to construct the
playground. After a few minutes, another army vehicle entered the village
and the two jeeps, along with a settler security vehicle congregated outside
a house on the edge of the village. The owner of the house offered the
settler and soldiers tea, which they refused. They then promptly left the
In the afternoon two internationals walked to Jawiyya to photograph some
dead sheep. The family said they died two days ago, as a result of settler
security beating them the previous week.
Internationals continued to be present at the village school. At 11:00 a.m.
Israeli officials arrived at the school and demanded that work on making a
playground stop. After some conversation with the internationals and other
Israeli activists who work in At-Tuwani, the officials left, saying that
they would return in two hours and the equipment must be gone. The workers
felt they would be able to finish their work in two hours and continued
working. The Israeli officials never returned.
At noon an Israeli army vehicle set up a checkpoint along the settler road.
They were stopping Palestinians who were crossing the road to travel between
At-Tuwani and Yatta. The soldiers dismantled the checkpoint soon after the
internationals arrived. One soldier commented, "We don't cause any
problems. We are all left-wing like you." The soldier also offered the
internationals water to drink.
At 10 a.m. three military vehicles drove into the village and stopped at one
of the houses. After a few minutes, they left. Residents of the house
informed internationals that the soldiers were asking questions about the
impending school patrol.
First week of school
Both the morning and noon school patrols occurred without incident from
Saturday 3 to Wednesday 7 September.
Eight children from Tuba came to school. Two internationals observed the
patrol on a hill outside the village and two internationals met the children
in the morning to inquire if they encountered any problems during the walk
to and from school.
In the morning after the school patrol one of the soldiers approached a
farmer who was grazing his sheep to tell him that he could not graze them on
that hillside. The soldiers called the two internationals who were filming
the incident over to the jeep and informed them that they could not film
soldiers. The internationals questioned the order because historically they
have filmed soldiers in the field.
At the request of the shepherd, two internationals accompanied him in the
afternoon. He grazed his sheep in the same place as the morning without
A member of Physicians for Human Rights stopped by the CPT/OD house. He is
interested in the access to health care of people in remote villages. He is
most concerned about their lack of access to specialized care such as
orthopedics or cardiology. He asked the team to contact him if they knew of
people with specific problems who could not access appropriate care.
During the afternoon, while watching the children walk home, internationals
heard sounds of construction coming from the illegal settlement outpost of
Havot Ma'on (also called Hill 833). The internationals also heard several
explosions south of their lookout point.
Around 5:30 p.m. a villager informed the team that settler security was on a
hill near the village photographing the boys and old women while they tended
grazing sheep. When the team arrived at the site, the vehicle was gone.
The team stayed with the shepherds until they were finished for the day.
In the evening Zimmerman and a member from Operation Dove attended a wedding
celebration in the village. After the celebration ended for the evening one
of the guests from Yatta told Zimmerman that she wished the party was
larger. She said, "We have a lot of family in Yatta and other places who are
afraid to come to At-Tuwani for the wedding because of what the settlers
have done in the past. I am sad because we can't all celebrate together."
Morning school patrol was early but uneventful.
A military vehicle drove through the village at 11:45 a.m. and stopped two
men who were walking toward the village from Mufakara. By the time the
internationals reached the scene, the military was gone. The two men said
that the soldiers asked to see their ID's and then drove off.
For the afternoon school patrol, five soldiers (instead of the usual two or
three) with two photographers walked with the children. The photographe