AT-TUWANI UPDATE: 25 July-6 August 2007

24 August 2007
AT-TUWANI UPDATE: 25 July-6 August 2007

Every day the team accompanied Palestinian shepherds in fields near Israeli
settlements and settler outposts. The team monitored several temporary
Israeli military checkpoints on the Palestinian road leading from At-Tuwani
north to Yatta. On team during this period were members of Operation Dove
(referred to as "the Doves") and CPTers Matthew Chandler, Peggy Gish,
Maureen Jack, Sean O'Neill, Reinhard Kober, and Sarah Scruggs.

Wednesday 25 July

Chandler monitored a temporary early morning checkpoint on Road 317 where
soldiers stopped every Palestinian passing, checking their ID's and bags.
>From a distance, he saw soldiers telling shepherds who were with their
flocks in a field near the road to move away. When he got close, he asked a
soldier if he made the shepherds move back. The soldier answered that
neither he nor his fellow soldiers spoke English. Chandler then talked to
the shepherds and confirmed that the soldiers told them to move away.

Chandler, Gish, and Scruggs watered the olive tree that residents of Tuwani
had planted in memory of Tom Fox.

Friday 27 July

Two Doves monitored a temporary checkpoint along Road 317.

Saturday 28 July

While accompanying shepherds in the morning, Kober and a Dove saw two
Palestinians rushing toward them, followed by three Israeli settlers. One
settler had his face covered. As soon as the settlers saw the
internationals, they stopped and left.

Sunday 29 July

While accompanying shepherds in the morning, O'Neill and Gish observed two
settlers throw stones at the shepherds from the Havat Ma'on outpost house on
the edge of the trees, followed by some yelling back and forth between
shepherds and settlers. The security guard from Ma'on Settlement arrived,
followed by one jeep of Israeli soldiers. The settlers left, and the
soldiers talked to the settlers but not to the shepherds.

Summer camp for the children of Tuwani and neighboring villages began at the
school in Tuwani. The team began observing the summer camp activities.
They also resumed monitoring a regular daily school patrol of children from
the villages of Tuba and Maghaer Al Abeed as they walked to camp.

Monday 30 July

While Chandler and Kober accompanied shepherds in the morning, five settler
boys came and exchanged insults with the shepherds for about ten minutes.

Tuesday, 31 July Around 8:30 a.m., in the Khoruba valley, O'Neill and Gish
saw two settlers from the hilltop outpost Havat Ma'on about thirty yards
above the shepherds. The shepherds moved slowly down into the valley and up
the opposite hill followed by the settlers. Israeli soldiers and the
security officer from Ma'on Settlement arrived. A third settler appeared
from the side and the three made a triangle around the shepherds and tried
to drive the sheep further away from the outpost. The shepherds moved in
between the sheep and the settlers in order to stop them, but the settlers
tried to push them away. CPTers videotaped the scene. For about ten
minutes settlers and shepherds yelled at and pushed each other while the
soldiers just watched, even though O'Neill asked them several times to keep
the settlers away to prevent a fight. Several other men and women from
Tuwani and two other CPTers came out to watch.

After the soldiers intervened to stop the settlers, the settlers left and
walked back to the outpost. Israeli police arrived and took a complaint
from one of the shepherds. Later one of the shepherds told CPTers that they
thought the settlers tried to provoke the shepherds to a violent response so
the police would arrest them. He said that the police officer asked the
soldiers why they did not intervene right away, and the sergeant said he had
orders from his captain not to.

Shortly after noon, Chandler and Gish went with members of Ta'ayush to a
site where Susya settlers have been farming Palestinian land. There they
documented a meeting between the Palestinian landowners, officials from the
police, Israeli government, and District Coordinating Office (DCO) during
which they walked around the land in dispute and confirmed who owned the
land. The Israeli officials said that the land in question was Palestinian
private land and thus forbidden for settler use. The police declared the
land a closed military zone for Israelis only until they do more paper work
for the official ruling.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Three members of the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and
Israel (EAPPI) Team in Hebron visited the team. Chandler took them to the
Ma'on Gate, where the children walked home, accompanied by Israeli soldiers.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

The team hosted a Fellowship of Reconciliation tour group.

Saturday, 4 August 2007

In the morning, two jeeps full of soldiers came into the village. They had
seen a bus of Palestinians come in to help with the summer camp and they
thought there might be a demonstration. O'Neill explained to them about the
children's summer camp and they left.

Later a member of the Israeli group Ta'ayush came with four people from the
Netherlands for a tour of the area. That evening, O'Neill played soccer
with teenage boys from Tuwani and Yatta. Tuwani won.

Sunday, 5 August 2007

A male Palestinian dance group from a town near Hebron entertained the
summer camp.

Monday, 6 August 2007

While with shepherds in Khoruba valley in the morning, O'Neill, Gish, and
the shepherds spotted nine camels on the hill where the old Havat Ma'on
outpost had stood. They speculated that the camels are starting a new
settlement, "Havat Jamal." Where the camels stand politically in the
Israeli/Palestinian conflict is still unknown.