25 November 2009
For immediate release
At-Tuwani, South Hebron hills – On Wednesday, 25 November, the Israeli military and police removed and confiscated two standing electricity pylons from the village of At-Tuwani. The electricity pylons had been installed by the villagers of At-Tuwani in an effort to connect to the electrical grid in Yatta, a Palestinian city to the north. The Israeli military declared the area around the pylons a closed military zone in an attempt to prevent Palestinians and international activists from obstructing or documenting the confiscation. Nonetheless, dozens of villagers came out in protest, and barricaded a police jeep from entering the village.
Despite a recent visit by Tony Blair, the Quartet’s special Middle East envoy, in which Blair assured villagers of At-Tuwani that the Israeli authorities gave oral permission to carry out the electrical construction work, the community has faced repeated interruptions as it struggles to bring electricity to the area. (see CPTnet release:“At-Tuwani hosts former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair to address Israeli occupation and violence in the southern West Bank”)
On Friday, 30 October, the Israeli military forcibly stopped the village’s electrical work. Officers from the Israeli District Coordinating Office (DCO), detained Mohammed Awayesa, a Palestinian worker from Ad-Dhahiriya and confiscated items including a truck, a mechanized lift and a large spool of electrical cable. No written orders were produced for the detention, confiscations or work stoppage. (see CPTnet release: Israeli military stops work to bring electricity to At-Tuwani; confiscates building materials)
On 28 July, 2009, the DCO issued a demolition order for six newly constructed electricity pylons in At-Tuwani.
On 25 May, 2009, the DCO entered the village and ordered residents to halt construction work on the electricity pylons. No written orders were delivered. (See URGENT ACTION: Demand that Israeli occupying forces allow At-Tuwani to bring electricity into their village).
See photos from 25 November 2009 at http://cpt.org/gallery/album299