Press Release: Settlers from Havat Ma’on chase away Palestinian shepherds from their land


Settlers from Havat Ma’on chase away Palestinian shepherds from their land
The Israeli army threatens and arrests three Palestinians

At-Tuwani – On February 28th five settlers coming from the illegal outpost of Havat Ma’on push away and chase two Palestinian shepherds coming from the village of At-Tuwani. The Palestinians were grazing their flocks on Meshaha Hill, closeby the village. The Army arrives and detains four Palestinians; three of them will be transferred in Kiryat Arba police station.

It was 9.00 am when three Palestinian shepherds with flocks reached Meshaha Hill, situated in front of Havat Ma’on outpost. At 11.40 am five settlers, three of them wearing a mask, came out from the outpost going towards the shepherds. When the settlers reached the Palestinians kept going on threateningly, making them draw back on the near Kharrouba Hill, trying also to scatter their flocks. In the meanwhile more shepherds coming from the village of Maghayir Al Abeed, who were grazing nearby, joined them on the hill. During the row an IDF (Israeli Defense Force) jeep came to calm down the quarrel.

The internationals witnesses have found in the soldier’s behaviour an ineffectiveness of their contenitive action and in addition an inclination in the use of weapons as an instrument of menace against the only Palestinians.

In the course of the events a Palestinian shepherd fell on the ground after a fainting fit and he was carried to the hospital by an ambulance.

In the meanwhile more Israeli military forces reached the area as three IDF jeeps, one armoured vehicle, two police cars and one DCO (Disctirct Coordination Office) car.

At 12:15 am four Palestinians were stopped, three of them arrested and conducted to Kiryat Arba police station, where they were detained. One of them was released after a few hours, the other two at 10:30 pm after a tight interrogation and on payment of bails for a total amount of 2000 NIS. The charges were aggression against a settler, which it has not been noticed at all by the internationals, and theft of a bycicle which was disputed between one of the detained and a settler. At the moment of the arrest some settler were still present as well as the security chief of Ma’on settlement. Not even one settler had any legal consequence.

The village of At-Tuwani, situated in area C in the South Hebron Hills, suffers since the 80s intimidations and violences from the settlers as well as the misuse of power and the threatenings carried out by the Israeli Army. As a result of this, the Palestinians living in this territory encounter great difficulties to access to their own lands and in their everyday grazing and farming activities.

During the last week the international observers have registered several attempts of arrest, temporary detentions and arrests against the shepherds carried out by the IDF.

In this situation of human rights violations the inhabitants of At-Tuwani and of the nearby villages choose the nonviolence in their everyday resistance.

Operation Dove has maintained an international presence in At-Tuwani and South Hebron Hills since 2004.

Pictures of the incident: Available soon

For further information:
Operation Dove, 054 99 25 773
[Note: According to the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Hague Regulations, 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 considered illegal also under Israeli law.]

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