17 July 2009
AT-TUWANI: On the morning of 17 July, a Palestinian family from the village of At-Tuwani discovered that their newly constructed house was destroyed during the previous night. In addition, the family discovered an olive tree located near the new house cut in half. The family believes that Israel settlers from the Ma’on settlement and Havot Ma’on outpost are responsible for the vandalism. Despite being threatened by both settlers and officers from the Israel military District Coordinator (DCO), the family plans to rebuild the house.
On 16 July Palestinian residents of At-Tuwani began construction on six new small houses on land owned by the village. During the construction, Israeli settlers from Havot Ma’on outpost shouted at Palestinians working on the houses. Officers from the DCO told Palestinian land owners that the construction was illegal and threatened to arrest the workers. In addition, an officer told one At-Tuwani resident that everything he owned would be destroyed if he did not stop building. Despite these risks, Palestinians say that they plan to continue construction to assert their right to build on their own land.
While the Israeli army restricts Palestinian building, Ma’on and Carmel settlements and Avigail and Havot Ma’on outposts in the area continue to expand. Members of Christian Peacemaker Teams have documented continuous settlement expansion since 2004.
For photos of the demolished house, visit: http://cpt.org/gallery/album289
For photos of recent settlement expansion, visit: http://cpt.org/gallery/album288