AT-TUWANI: Settler youth harass Palestinians and international human rights workers
[Note: According to the Geneva Conventions, the International Court of Justice in the Hague, and numerous United Nations resolutions, all Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) are illegal. Most settlement outposts are considered illegal under Israeli law.]
A masked Israeli settler youth threatened and physically assaulted two Italian human rights workers on 5 April as they walked to Tuwani after accompanying Palestinian shepherds near the village of Tuba. The two members of Operation Dove were walking through an uncultivated Palestinian field near the Israeli settlement of Ma'on and were about fifty meters from Road 317 when a young man approached them. Although his face was partly covered, they recognised him as the same person who had been verbally harassing the shepherds earlier in the day. The settler yelled threats at them, ordered them to go back to where they came from, and said he would call police. When the Italians told him they did not mind if he called the police, he kicked one of them on the thigh and then ran away from them in the direction of Ma'on settlement.
In a separate incident, also on 5 April, two young male Israeli settlers brought a dog from the Israeli settlement outpost, Havat Ma'on, onto Palestinian land in Khoruba Valley where two Palestinian families were harvesting crops, accompanied by a members of Christian Peacemaker Teams. In previous years, Israeli settlers from the outpost of Havat Ma'on have attacked and harassed families in Khoruba valley during harvesting. The families, which included women and small children, were frightened by the presence of the settlers, but did not leave their fields. The settlers continued walking with the dog and left the area.
Operation Dove (http://www.operationdove.org/) and Christian Peacemaker Teams together maintain a presence in the Palestinian village of Tuwani, and provide international accompaniment and human rights documentation for Palestinian shepherds, farmers, and school children. The two organizations began work in the area in 2004 in response to frequent violent attacks on Palestinians by settlers from the outpost of Havat Ma'on.