AT-TUWANI: Israeli settlers threaten Palestinian family, beat and rob CPTers


18 November 2009
AT-TUWANI: Israeli settlers threaten Palestinian family, beat and rob CPTers


[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.]

On Tuesday, 17 November 2009, in the South Hebron Hills of the West Bank, five Israeli settlers harassed a Palestinian family walking home, then beat and robbed two Christian Peacemaker Team (CPT) members who were accompanying them.

The two young parents and their three small children were returning from the nearby city of Yatta to their home village of Tuba.  At 11:00 a.m., they encountered CPTers just south of the village of At-Tuwani.  After the CPTers warned the Palestinians about the settlers seen earlier in the morning, the family chose a longer path toward Tuba, accompanied by the CPTers.

As the group crossed Mashakha Hill, they saw four settler men on a ridge fifty meters above them.  The settlers ran toward the Palestinians and began to circle them.  A fifth settler, masked and hooded, appeared from the valley below.  When the Palestinian man told them he was only trying to walk home, a settler shoved him.

As the CPTers attempted to step between the Palestinians and settlers, the settlers pushed them to the ground, hit and kicked them, and stole their two video cameras.  The settlers then walked to the illegal settlement outpost of Havat Ma'on (Hill 833), where they disappeared among the trees twenty minutes later.  The Palestinian family arrived home safely.

For decades, residents of Tuba Village had a direct road to the village of At-Tuwani, and onward to the regional economic hub of Yatta.  The Israeli settlement of Ma'on and its neighboring outpost of Havat Ma'on were built directly on that road, blocking all Palestinian traffic and forcing villagers onto long dirt paths through the hills, taking them as much as two hours out of their way.