AT-TUWANI: Israeli military stops work to bring electricity to At-Tuwani; confiscates building materials



5 November 2009
AT-TUWANI: Israeli military stops work to bring electricity to At-Tuwani; confiscates building materials



At-Tuwani, South Hebron Hills, Palestine- On Friday 30 October, the Israeli army forcibly stopped the electrical infrastructure work in the village of At-Tuwani.  Officers from the Israeli District Coordinating Office (DCO), the branch of the Israeli army responsible for the administration of Palestinian civilian affairs in the occupied Palestinian territories, detained Mohammed Awayesa, a Palestinian worker from Ad-Dhahiriya and confiscated materials and tools  used for the electrical work.  The items confiscated included a truck, a mechanized lift, and a large spool of electrical wire.  The officers produced no written orders for the detention, confiscations, or work stoppage. 

Even though the army has given verbal permission to the community leaders to carry on the work, the DCO told the Palestinian workers and villagers that continued work on the electrical lines was illegal without a written permission from the DCO.  The DCO took  Awayesa and the materials to an Israeli DCO office near Al Fahs, south of Hebron. The DCO released Awayesa but is still holding the confiscated material. 

Despite visit last spring by Tony Blair, special middle east envoy of the Quartet, during which the former British Prime Minister assured At-Tuwani villagers that the DCO gave oral permission to carry out the electrical infrastructure work , the community has faced ongoing interruptions by the DCO in its struggle to bring electricity to the area . (See 20 March 2009 CPTnet release.)  A spokesperson for Tony Blair, asked to comment on the military's most recent interference, said: "During a visit to At-Tuwani in March, Quartet Representative Tony Blair recognized the urgent need for the establishment of the necessary infrastructure for this village.  He has since been urging the Government of Israel to facilitate the connection of At-Tuwani to the power grid.  Furthermore, he has urged that such infrastructure be facilitated in villages across Area C." 

On 28 July 2009, members of the DCO  issued a demolition order for six newly constructed electricity pylons in the village of At-Tuwani (See 30 July 2000 CPTnet release.)

On 25 May 2009, the DCO entered the village of At-Tuwani and ordered villagers to halt construction work on new electricity pylons in the village.  No written orders were delivered (See 26 May 2009 CPTnet release.)