Twana Village: Living in Settler Hell

30.03.11 – 12:35- PNN – Palestine News Network

Muhannad al-Adm – Hebron – PNN/Exclusive – The al-Ra’bi family lives in the village of Twana, south of Hebron in the southern West Bank, in a lasting state of panic induced by the settlers in the nearby outpost of Ma’oun, built on Twana’s land. The Twana villagers can’t leave and they can’t abandon their sheep, their only livelihood in this land of little rainfall. Jama’a al-Ra’bi, who owns the family home, says they can only wait and hold onto their land.


Israeli soldiers patrol Twana village land (PNN Images).









Twana exists in the middle of a settler jungle. Ibrahim Awad, a boy from the village, was critically wounded here when a settler stabbed him in front of the al-Ra’bi home last week.

“Our life has become hell,” said al-Ra’bi. “The settlers can attack at any moment, kill our children, kill our livestock. Even though the army is next to the house they don’t stop [the settlers]. They protect them. The settlers attack the farmers and the shepherds, they stop us from grazing our sheep, they detain us for long hours.”


An Israeli military jeep and a Palestinian boy (PNN Images).










When PNN went to the al-Ra’bi home, Israeli soldiers had recently let loose police dogs near 26 villagers, most of them women and children. Human rights organizations had apparently been unsuccessful in protecting the village from attacks after the stabbing of Ibrahim Awad last week. But international volunteers were able to capture at least some of the abuses on camera. Jama’a said he wants the world to see his terror.

An Inhuman Situation

Around 300 people live in Twana, which sits on a hill overlooking vast tracts of the desert. The land is dotted now with both tents and newly constructed houses, each one near the scattered stones of Palestinian houses demolished by the Israeli army. Even from its hilltop perch, Twana is no longer a fortress for its inhabitants.

The head of the Twana village council, Sabr al-Harmi, said the situation in the village is extremely difficult.

“We live in caves and tents and only a few fully-constructed homes, hoping they won’t be demolished,” said al-Harmi. “The army has distributed demolition notices for the homes, even one for the mosque because they said it lies outside the 30 dunums allocated for the village. We used to have tens of thousands. We are facing a shortage of water and continued settler attacks.”

Abuses Against Students

School children in Twana are not spared the suffering of the village, as their school lies near the illegal settlement. Many of them have spent long hours inside Israeli military jeeps, which the Israeli army uses to protect them from settler assaults—not out of a desire to see them learn, but as a result of pressure from international human rights organizations and Israeli peace activists. The ink in their pens evaporates as they wait in the baking sun for jeeps for hours.

PNN documented as the Israeli army forced school children to run the long distance from the Ma’oun settlement, screaming at them and following them in a civilian vehicle at high speeds:



(PNN Images)

(PNN Images)

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