Palestine: South Hebron Hills: Shepherd Harassed, Videographer Arrested


Palestinei: tending sheepAccording to the Fourth Geneva Convention, the International Court of Justice, and several United Nations resolutions, all Israeli settlements and outposts in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are illegal.  Most settlement outposts, including Havat Ma’on (Hill 833), are also illegal under Israeli law.

On 30 October 2010 in the South Hebron Hills village of Tuba, Israeli soldiers arrested a Palestinian videographer who had filmed them chasing two young Palestinian shepherds.

The shepherds, accompanied by internationals from Operation Dove (an Italian peace group) and Israeli peace activists from Ta’ayush, were watching their flocks on private Palestinian land.

Soon Israeli soldiers and police arrived and surrounded the whole area.  Soldiers came down from the hilltop into the valley and chased the two Palestinian shepherds, who ran quickly toward their village.

Israeli activists and internationals tried to speak with soldiers and explain that the shepherds were on Palestinian-owned land.  According to Israeli law, it is illegal to prevent Palestinians from accessing their land.

Nevertheless, the Israeli soldiers continued chasing the shepherds to Tuba where the young Palestinian videographer who works for B’tselem (an Israeli human rights organization) was videotaping the action.

Soldiers then surrounded the videographer and forced him to follow them to the Israeli-only bypass road, preventing him from answering his cell phone.  They then took him to a military base where they detained him for five hours.

After his release, he told internationals that he had been blindfolded and handcuffed for a long time and refused permission to make phone calls.  None of the soldiers spoke Arabic and they were not willing to speak with him in English.

Operation Dove and CPT have maintained an international presence in the South Hebron Hills since 2004.