AT-TUWANI UPDATE: 1 November-13 December 2006

CPTnet
29 December 2006

AT-TUWANI UPDATE: 1 November-13 December 2006

During this period, the team accompanied farmers picking olives and plowing
their land. School began on 8 November; from that point on, the team
monitored the Israeli military escort of children from surrounding villages.
In addition to members of Operation Dove (Referred to as "the Doves"),
members from CPT on the project during this time were Maureen Jack, Abigail
Ozanne, Heidi Schramm and Diana Zimmerman.

Wednesday 1 November

Israeli soldiers erected a flying checkpoint in the late morning. Schramm,
Zimmerman and two Doves took turns monitoring the checkpoint for the rest of
the day. Soldiers stopped some Palestinians and let others pass.

Thursday 2 November

Schramm, Zimmerman and a Dove joined other internationals and Palestinians
in the village of Susiya to take part in an olive picking action. Soldiers
and settlers did not interfere, allowing the Palestinians to harvest olives
in previously abandoned groves.

In the evening, the team received a phone call from a friend in the village
informing them that Israelis kidnapped a Palestinian man on his way to
At-Tuwani. Schramm, Zimmerman and two Doves responded. (See 4 November
2006 CPTnet release, "Palestinian man kidnapped, beaten and later released
from Israeli army base.")

Sunday 5 November

In the evening, children from the village alerted the team to Israeli border
police on the road connecting At-Tuwani to Yatta, stopping and searching
each vehicle that passed by. Zimmerman and three Doves responded. The
officers demanded to see the internationals' passports. The commanding
officer also ordered Zimmerman to turn off the video camera, threatening to
arrest her and break the camera if she did not do so. She continued to film
and the officer did not follow through with his threats.

Saturday 11 November

Despite the fact that the children waited at the location assigned to them
two years ago by the Israeli Defense Forces and the Knesset, the soldiers
who were supposed to provide an escort could not find them. After driving
to the village of Tuba twice, the soldiers approached Schramm and a Dove,
who were waiting for the escort to arrive in At-Tuwani. One soldier told
them that the children were not there. Schramm called a Dove monitoring
from Khoruba Hill; he confirmed that he could see the children waiting in
their usual place. The soldiers said they would return to Tuba one more
time, but would leave if the children "still weren't there." On their third
trip to the village, they found the children, and the escort continued as
usual. A different soldier told Schramm that the tardiness of the children
was unacceptable, and that in the future, they would not wait.

Later in the morning, Israeli activists from the organization Ta'ayush
joined the six Doves in the village to monitor Palestinians plowing their
land around the illegal outpost, Havat Ma'on. Settlers arrived, followed
soon after by the Israeli army and police. The police insisted that the
Palestinians shut off their tractors for five minutes, to give them time to
ascertain whose land this was. The police called the District Coordinating
Office (DCO) in Hebron, which is responsible for determining to whom the
land belongs. The DCO officer who arrived told the Palestinians and
settlers that her commander would have to make the decision, but he could
not come until the following day, because it was Shabbat. A police officer
declared the area a closed military zone, threatening to arrest anyone who
did not leave immediately.

Immediately before the police officer declared a closed military zone, the
afternoon school patrol began. Settlers still in the area ambushed the
children on their way back to Tuba. (See 12 November CPTnet release:
"Palestinian school children attacked by Israeli settlers; Israeli military
fails in its duty to keep children safe.")

Sunday 12 November

The military escort of the children from Tuba was nearly two hours late in
the morning. Schramm and a Dove watched an army vehicle drive around the
outpost twice, and then leave the area entirely. When they returned, the
soldiers said they did not know where to go to meet the children. (See 14
November CPTnet release, "Israeli military again fails to provide timely
escort for Palestinian school children.")

Saturday 18 November

Internationals and Israeli joined Palestinians in three villages to monitor
plowing. Ozanne and a Dove accompanied Palestinians in Tuba and At-Tuwani.
Settlers protested the work, but the Israeli police allowed the Palestinians
to continue working until officers from the DCO arrived, which happened as
the Palestinians finished their work. Settlers built a roadblock, which the
police promptly removed.

Schramm, Jack and three Doves went to Susiya. Soldiers arrived and demanded
that the Palestinians stop plowing. The Palestinians were not able to
finish the work. A soldier admitted to an Israeli activist that Israeli
settlers had told them to stop the Palestinians plowing and not their
military commander.

Sunday 19 November

In the morning, fifty armed settlers invaded the village of Tuba (20
November CPTnet release: "Palestinians flee village of Tuba due to invasion
of fifty Israeli settlers.")

Monday 20 November

Two Doves went to the village of Tuba for the night. When they got there,
they saw three settlers sitting on the ground, drinking coffee just outside
of the village. The settlers stayed for nearly an hour and left without
entering the village.

Monday 27 November

After waiting for two hours for the morning school escort to arrive, Jack
and Schramm, along with three CPT delegates, began walking to the village of
Tuba to escort the children themselves. While they were walking, settlers
emerged from the outpost and chased the children from the chicken barns
where they were waiting back into Tuba. As the CPTers walked back towards
At-Tuwani, a military jeep passed by. Jack stopped the soldiers and
explained the problem to them. She informed them that the children would
not be going to school that day, thus eliminating the need for an afternoon
escort.

Tuesday 28 November

Twenty Palestinians from At-Tuwani gathered to watch a video on nonviolent
struggle.