5 August 2010
AT-TUWANI: Father of shepherd who videoed settlers stealing sheep threatened with fine
Video available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZvsGAQdj-I
Edited from a release provided by Operation Dove
[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.]
On 21 July, three settlers stole a sheep from a young Palestinian shepherd while he was watering his flock at a well situated in Umm Zeitouna valley, located between the Israeli settlements of Ma’on and Karmel.
According to the shepherd, a resident of Tuba village, two Israeli settler vehicles stopped on the nearby settler bypass road. A settler exited from one of the vehicles, walked toward the shepherd’s flock, grabbed a sheep by the ear and dragged the animal a few yards. He then loaded the sheep onto his shoulders and walked back to the road, where two other settlers, one of them armed, were waiting. The settlers loaded the animal into a vehicle. During this time the shepherd remained at a distance filming the theft with a video camera from the Israeli human rights association B’Tselem, given to Palestinians in the area to document attacks by settlers.
The young Palestinian pointed out that during the theft, on the road not far from the settlers cars, there was an Israeli military jeep. Although the soldiers were present during the incident they left the scene without intervening.
The shepherd then reported the theft of the sheep to Israeli police, who arrived on the scene with Ma’on settlement’s security guard and two other settlers identified as Havat Ma’on residents. The police refused to talk to the shepherd who wanted to make a complaint, saying they did not know Arabic or English and insisting on speaking with the boy’s father, although he was not present at the time of the robbery. A few minutes later the police went to the village of Tuba to pick up the father and bring him to the police station in Kiryat Arba. The father was fingerprinted, photographed, and threatened with a fine, but was not permitted to give testimony. Then the young shepherd, accompanied by international volunteers, followed his father to the Israeli police station to make a complaint and submit the video from the incident.
Episodes like this are frequent in the South Hebron Hills, where settlers from the settlements and the outposts attack Palestinian shepherds and farmers to intimidate and force them to leave their lands.
These kinds of illegal actions are usually left unpunished and many of them occur with Israeli military and police complicity. The Palestinian communities of this area have chosen to nonviolently resist the continuous abuses of the Israeli settlers and military.
Operation Dove and Christian Peacemaker Teams have maintained an international presence in At-Tuwani and the South Hebron Hills since 2004.