At 8:45am 50 adult, male, Israeli settlers some of whom were carrying guns, walked from the illegal Israeli outpost of Havot Ma’on (Hill 833) toward the small Palestinian village of Tuba. On the way, they encountered the young children from Tuba and Migaer Al-Abeed walking to school in At-Tuwani under Israeli military escort. Most of the children, terrified, ran back towards Tuba. A village elder accompanied them back to their escort and all of the children arrived safely in At-Tuwani, although visibly shaken by their experience.
Two international volunteers from Operation Dove ran from At-Tuwani to Tuba. When they got near the village they met some of the villagers who had fled their houses and taken refuge in the hills. Some of them had taken their flocks of sheep and goats with them. A villager testified that when the settlers first approached the village they said that they were out hiking and would not bother the villagers. The Palestinian said, however, that the settlers entered the village and started throwing stones at the animals and at the village’s generator. They also emptied storage containers of water, a commodity which is in very short supply in the village.
The villagers pointed out the direction in which the settlers had gone. The Doves were walking in that direction when, at 9:45am, the Israeli police and army arrived on the scene. This was more than an hour after they had been called. The Doves saw the police jeep stop and the army jeep continue further on. The police and soldiers ordered the Doves to stop following the settlers. A villager later reported that the soldiers then shouted to the settlers to leave because the police were coming. The villager also reported that he saw the settlers go into a nearby valley and hide.
The Doves videotaped their discussion with the police. Audible on the recording are the police’s radio conversations with their colleagues. These colleagues can be heard to say that they encountered some of the settlers, including four of whom the villager had given a description.
However, the police did not detain the settlers, claiming that there was no evidence against them.
This is the latest example in this area of settler violence towards Palestinians, which again has evoked no response from the Israeli authorities.
Videos of the settlers marching to Tuba and the testimony of a villager is available on request.
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