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Update from the South Hebron Hills

from reports by Operation Dove, February 8th

Two Palestinian families near Mnser attacked by a colonist

On the morning of Saturday 20th January about twelve Israeli activists came to accompany farmers plowing their fields near Israeli colonies. Two human rights workers (HRWs) and the Israeli activists went first to Mufagara and then to Kharuba where villagers plowed with four donkeys while soldiers were up by the Ma’on outpost. They saw a few colonists, but there were no problems.

Others went to a small village near Mnser where a colonist attacked the two families living there. Soldiers came and threatened the Israelis who were confronting the colonists. When a ten-year old tried to leave, a soldier fired warning shots into the air and ordered people to stay. The police came and took an Israeli activist’s ID and then went to the Kiryat Arba police station to file a complaint against him. The Israeli activist had his ID returned and was released at 6:30pm.

IOF harrassment in Al Birki

On the night of Monday 22nd January soldiers invaded the home of a family in Al Birki, handcuffed and blindfolded the father and three sons, and dropped them off at 3:30am in the morning near Al Fawwar, about 10 miles away. On the morning of Wednesday 24th the family received a call from a DCO Captain (District Coordination Office – the civilian administration wing of the Israeli military in the West Bank), who claimed to be head of intelligence for Shabbak in the Hebron district, demanding that twelve members of the family report to the DCO within half an hour or “I will come with my soldiers and it will be very violent.” Two internationals spent the night with the family, which passed without incident. On Friday 26th the family received another threatening phone call saying that the Red Cross, the journalists, and the foreigners will be of no help to her, that he must bring his entire family immediately to the DCO or there will be big problems.

Palestinian shepherds attacked by colonists near At Tuwani village

On Saturday 3rd February at around 10:30am a Palestinian shepherd on the north side of highway 317 near the colony of Ma’on called for HRWs. There was a gathering of about eight Palestinian men, women and children on the hill opposite Ma’on who recounted the following:

Two young shepherds were herding the flocks of three families when four settlers whose faces were covered, came and began herding the sheep towards the colony. When more family members approached, the colonists threw rocks at them and threatened them with sticks. An IOF jeep came and separated the colonists from the shepherds and their sheep. The colonists returned to Ma’on.

Returning to At Tuwani the HRWs met Israeli police who were passing on the road. The story was reported to the police who asked if anyone was injured and said to call them if there were further problems.