AT-TUWANi: Palestinian trees destroyed in ongoing settler vandalism and harassment



16 May 2011

AT-TUWANi: Palestinian
trees destroyed in ongoing settler vandalism and harassment

[Note: 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 are illegal.  Most settlement outposts are
considered illegal under Israeli law.]

In the early
morning of 12 May 2011, Palestinian farmers discovered that during the
night unknown perpetrators had vandalized ten olive trees in Humra
valley, near At -Tuwani in the South Hebron Hills. The trees and the
land belong to At-Tuwani resident Salman Jibrin Raba’i. The evidence
suggests that the vandals sawed and then broke branches off the trees,
completely destroying seven trees and partially damaging another
three. 11-05-12 olive trees chopped in Humra (4)

A spokeperson for
the Raba’i family remarked that, due to the late spring rains,
they had expected a good olive harvest this year. One olive tree in the
area produces an average of twelve kilos of olive oil. Therefore,
the cumulative loss of these damaged trees’ production is a substantial
financial blow to the family. The property owners called the police
in order to lodge a formal complaint. Due to numerous prior
similar incidents in the area, Palestinians suspect that the likely perpetrators
are settlers from the nearby Havat Ma’on settlement

This incident
continues a string of recent episodes of settler vandalism and
harassment in the area surrounding At-Tuwani. Several times during the previous
ten days settlers had grazed their flocks on Palestinian
fields, further harming crops already suffering from the winter drought.
On 8 May, seven settler youths harassed a Palestinian shepherd and his
flock grazing in Khoruba, south of the outpost. The settlers ran away
when the shepherd called the police.

On 5 May, as
Ibrahim Ahmed Amur surveyed his olive grove near bypass Road 317, he
discovered that vandals had cut about one hundred meters of fence line,
destroyed 25 fence posts, and hacked an olive tree. This same olive grove
was completely ravaged in January 2006, a deed which police suspected
was done by local settlers.  The Amur family thus lost four years’
worth of olive crops from the 120 ravaged trees. They filed a
complaint in 2006 but to date have not received any compensation.

On at least three
different occasions during the previous ten days, settlers had also harassed
Palestinian children on their way home from school in At-Tuwani.  Each
time, as the school children walked on the road near the settlement and
outpost, settlers stalked the children along the road.
 Soldiers from the military escort assigned to protect the school children
got off the jeep to walk between the settlers and children, but did
not detain the settlers or otherwise address this pattern of
harassment.  For further information on the history of the military escort
for the school children, in place since 2004, please see:

The ongoing
settlers’ harassment of Palestinians and damage of Palestinian
property, as well as the lack of adequate response by the appropriate
authorities, raise questions about the capability of the Israeli
government to control settlers in the area and to ensure Palestinian

For more photos,


Operation Dove
and Christian Peacemaker Teams have maintained an

presence in At-Tuwani and South Hebron Hills since 2004.

Follow breaking
news from the South Hebron hills on Twitter





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