31 October 2013
SOUTH HEBRON HILLS: Despite court order, Israeli military intimidates villagers in Firing Zone 918
[Note: The following is an update from CPT Palestine’s
partner, the Italian peace group Operation Dove that lives and works in the South
Hebron Hills village of At-Tuwani, where CPT also worked from 2004-2011. Christian Peacemaker Teams, Operation
Dove, and EAPPI share responsibility for accompanying a vehicle intended for the
transport of school children into an area of the South Hebron Hills the Israeli
military has designated as “Firing Zone 918.” The Operation Dove
report has been edited for clarity.]
In spite of the Israeli Defense Minister’s acceptance of the mediation proposal by the Israeli High Court to find a solution with the Palestinians [in the region] about the Israeli military’s use of Firing Zone 918, the pressure of the army on the local inhabitants does not decrease.
According to eyewitnesses, on Sunday, 20 October more than 300 soldiers arrived at the Israeli military base close to the villages of Jinba and Mirkez. Some of them invaded fields between the two Palestinian villages and camped there. For all the week, they did military drills in the area and invaded the Palestinian villages. During the drills, soldiers broke into the village of Jinba, entering into private properties, preventing some Palestinian shepherds from grazing their sheep on Palestinian fields, intimidating and scaring the inhabitants.
On the nights of Thursday 24 and Friday 25, the soldiers trained around the
Palestinian village of Halaweh. On
the night of Wednesday 23, the soldiers entered in the houses of the
Palestinian village of Al Mirkez, ransacking homes.
Finally, on Sunday, 27 October, eight Israeli soldiers stopped and detained the Palestinian who drives the school transport jeep around Masafer Yatta for the Palestinian Ministry of Education. Every day he accompanies the elementary schoolchildren on their way from several remote villages to their school in Al Fakheit village. The soldiers forced the driver to get out of the car; then they questioned him. Moreover, the soldiers shouted and him and insulted him, and beat him on his abdomen, face and back. Later, they forced the driver to get in the car and drive on the spikes used at army checkpoints in order to puncture the tires.
Despite the fact that the Ministry of Defence accepted the mediation with the [South Hebron Hills] Palestinians proposed by High Court of Justice, the Israeli government is continuing its policy of threats against the Masafer Yatta inhabitants.
Operation Dove - Nonviolent Peace Corps
Ass. Comunità Papa Giovanni XXIII