19 March 2011 | Operation Dove
At-Tuwani – Saturday morning, around 9:00 am, during a nonviolent action, the inhabitants of At-Tuwani, accompanied by several international, planted some olive trees in Palestinian-owned Humra valley. In addition, during the action some shepherds of the village decided to graze their flocks in the area.
Immediately, several Israeli army jeep reached the area to monitor the situation. Soon after, settlers from the Havat Ma’on outpost, some of them masked, began to approach and provoke the Palestinians. They walked among their flocks and close to the women who were gathering herbs in the fields. At about 10:30, three young settlers chased a Palestinian man who was returning home with his donkey through Meshaha hill. Luckily, the Palestinian man was just scared by the settlers. The action could still be carried out successfully despite the provocations and the tension due to the presence of about twenty settlers.
The soldiers tried to keep the settlers away, repeatedly asking them to return in the outpost. At around 10:50 an officer of the Border Police brought an evacuation order declaring the zone “closed military area“. The Palestinians, after some protests, went back to At-Tuwani. The settlers returned in the outpost, they splitted in two groups: some of them attacked the Palestinians and their flocks on their way back to the village, while others headed toward At-Tuwani masked and accompanied by dogs, threatening the house closest to the outpost.
The situation deteriorated and some Palestinians replied to the settlers’ attacks defending themselves. The soldiers tried to force the Palestinians back to the village and during the riots they launched two sound bombs. Two young Palestinians were arrested and a third, after being pinned to the ground by several soldiers, felt faint and went by ambulance to the hospital in Yatta. The other inhabitants of At-Tuwani and all the internationals were forced by soldiers to return to the village.[Note: According to the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Hague Regulations, the International Court of Justice, and several United Nations resolutions, all Israeli settlements and outposts in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are illegal. Most settlement outposts, including Havat Ma’on (Hill 833), are considered illegal also under Israeli law.]
Operation Dove and Christian Peacemaker Teams have maintained an international presence in At-Tuwani and South Hebron Hills since 2004.