CPTnet3 March 2010 AT-TUWANI: CPT video highlights ongoing soldier-settler collaboration to abuse Palestinian shepherds
AT-TUWANI, South Hebron Hills, Palestine On Friday afternoon, 19 February 2010, Israeli settlers, soldiers and police detained for two hours a fourteen-year-old boy from the Palestinian village of Saadet Tha’lah, located near the Israeli settlement* of Karmel in the South Hebron Hills. Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) has published a six-minute video documenting the incident in detail (see below).
The boy had been alone with his family’s flock of sheep and goats in their regular grazing area, just above Umm Zeituna Valley, on the south side of the large Israeli dairy belonging to the Israeli settlement of Ma’on.
When CPTers** arrived, Israeli occupation authorities were also holding two of the boy’s animals, which especially worried him because one was pregnant and could miscarry. Another shepherd from the nearby village of Tuba told the CPTers that he had been in the area and heard the boy’s shouts of panic as the Israelis grabbed him.
The boy reported seeing two Israeli settlers outside the dairy barns, who summoned and directed the soldiers to go after him. The soldiers walked downhill from the dairy barns, grabbed two animals, and told him, “If you want your goats back, you better come here.” The boy complied. The other shepherd then reported seeing both a settler and a soldier together grab the boy and physically restrain him. The boy said that one of the settlers had struck him.
Israeli police held the boy and his animals for about two hours, telling CPTers that he had criminally trespassed on Ma’on settlement land. The boy reported having no idea the land was not open to everyone. The police refused to produce a map defining which land was private, and after two hours released him and his animals.
View the six-minute documentary of the event here:
*According to the Geneva Conventions, the International Court of Justice in The Hague, and numerous United Nations resolutions, all Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) are illegal. Most settlement outposts are considered illegal under Israeli law.
**Based in At-Tuwani Village, CPT and the organization Operation Dove maintain a continuous international witness in the South Hebron Hills.