Determined to improve their quality of life, at-Tuwani residents living under Israeli occupation are building pylons to connect to the Palestinian electrical grid in nearby towns, enabling the village to have electricity 24-hours-a-day.
Currently at-Tuwani receives only four hours of electricity a day, supplied by a diesel generator operated and paid for by the villagers.
In March, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, special Middle East envoy of the *Quartet, visited at-Tuwani. He assured residents that the Israeli District Coordinating Office, the branch of the Israeli army that administers civilian affairs in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, had given oral permission for the villagers’ electricity construction work. However, on 28 July, the DCO issued a demolition order for the new pylons.
Now the village is trying to hold Blair to his promise. Saber Hreini, head of the at-Tuwani Village Council, wrote to Blair, saying:
“We hope that in your role as envoy for the Quartet, you can be of assistance to us in contacting the Israeli government with the hopes of procuring written permission for these projects. We fear that without written permission our problems will continue.”
Blair did not respond.
Israel, as the occupying power, is responsible for the general welfare of the occupied Palestinian civilian population under international humanitarian law. While providing electricity and water to Israeli settlements and outposts in the occupied Palestinian territories, Israeli authorities fail to supply these basic services to Palestinian towns and villages. Now they threaten to demolish villagers’ attempts to provide such services themselves.
*The Quartet on the Middle East, sometimes called simply the Quartet, is the body, consisting of representatives of the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, and Russia, responsible for facilitating peace talks between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority. Tony Blair is currently the special envoy for the Quartet.
Contact the Office of the Quartet and urge them to pressure Israel to revoke the demolition order for the pylons and allow the at-Tuwani villagers access to electricity.
Tony Blair; tel.: +972-2-633-3333;
office website: www.tonyblairoffice.org.