Christian Peacemaker Teams
31 March 2010On March 31, the Israeli Special Police Forces entered the Palestinian village of Tuba, immediately east of Ma’on settlement, and destroyed household belongings in two homes in the village. The police forced Tuba residents from their homes and told them that they were searching for two goats which settlers from the outpost of Havat Ma’on had reported missing. The police also accused the villagers of possessing weapons, and while questioning nearly a dozen villagers, the police upended nearly every belonging in both homes. The police ransacked three bedrooms, a kitchen, and a storage unit. International activists and Tuba residents reported that the police left the scene without confiscating any weapons or sheep and without making any arrests. During the search police personnel refused to let international activists observe the search of the homes or the interrogations of the residents.
The village of Tuba lies near the Israeli outpost of Havat Ma’on, and shepherds from the village are frequently forced from their grazing land near the outpost. During March, shepherds, international activists, and members of the Israeli peace organization, Taayush, participated in a series of nonviolent actions in an attempt to prevent the Israeli military from forcing Tuba shepherds and sheep from their grazing land. On multiple occasions in March, Israeli soldiers declared an area of land including the village of Tuba to be a closed military zone forcing all Palestinian shepherds to leave the area. The soldiers also arrested Israeli activists who refused to leave the area.
Children from Tuba who attend school in At-Tuwani must walk with a military escort through through Havat Ma’on to reach their school. They are frequently subjected to threats and assaults from settlers.[Note: According to the Geneva Conventions, the International Court of Justice in the Hague, and numerous United Nations resolutions, all Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) are illegal. Most settlement outposts are considered illegal under Israeli law.]