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Israeli military stops work to bring electricity to At-Tuwani; confiscates building materials

Christian Peacemaker Team

30 October 2009

At-Tuwani – On Friday 30 October, the Israeli army forcibly stopped the electrical work of the village of At-Tuwani, located in the South Hebron hills. Officers from the Israeli District Coordinating Office (DCO), the branch of the Israeli army responsible for the administration of Palestinian civilian affairs in the occupied Palestinian territories, detained Mohammed Awayesa, a Palestinian worker from Ad-Dhahiriya and confiscated materials and tools being used for the electrical work. The items confiscated included a truck, a mechanized lift, and a large spool of electrical wire. No written orders were produced for the detention, confiscations, or work stoppage.

Even though the army has given verbal permission to the community leaders to carry on the work, the DCO told the Palestinian workers and villagers that continued work on the electrical lines was illegal without a written permission from the DCO. The DCO took Awayesa and the materials to an Israeli DCO office near Al Fahs, south of Hebron. The DCO released the man but is still holding the confiscated material. .

Despite a recent visit by Tony Blair, special middle east envoy of the Quartet, where the former Prime Minister assured villagers from At-Tuwani that the DCO gave oral permission to carry out the electricity construction work , the community struggle to bring electricity to the area has been met with ongoing interruptions by the DCO. (see AT-TUWANI: At-Tuwani hosts former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair to address Israeli occupation and violence in the southern West Bank)

On 28 July 2009, members of the DCO issued a demolition order for six newly constructed electricity pylons in the village of At-Tuwani (see AT-TUWANI URGENT ACTION: Demand that Quartet pressure Israel to revoke demolition order for electricity pylons).

On 25 May 2009, the DCO entered the village of At-Tuwani and ordered villagers to halt construction work on new electricity pylons in the village. No written orders were delivered. (see AT-TUWANI URGENT ACTION: Demand that Israeli occupying forces allow At-Tuwani to bring electricity into their village).