26 February 2012 | Operation Dove
On February 25th Palestinian men and women, elders and children, together with Israeli and international activists gathered for two demonstrations organized by the South Hebron Hills Popular Committee.
The first demonstration, attended by approximately ninety people, was planned in response to twenty-nine trees being cut down during the last four months on private Palestinian property near the illegal outpost of Havat Ma’on. During the action the participants planted about thirty small olive trees on a hill near the village of At-Tuwani. The demonstration was guarded by the Army, the border police, the police and the DCO (District Coordination Office), nearly forty officers overall.
Later the demonstrators headed towards Saadet Tha’lah, where on the 15th of February 2012 the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) bulldozers demolished five structures (http://www.operationdove.org/?p=698 ), to express their solidarity and closeness to the inhabitants.
At the meantime, two fifteen year old boys from the village of Tuba were grazing their flocks in the Palestinian Um Zeitouna valley near the Ma’on settlement despite the several prohibitions imposed by the Army and the settlement security chief. As reported by two internationals witnesses of the event, the latter was present during the incident. The two teenagers were arrested and detained in Kiryat Arba police station and released in the evening with a denial of access for the following two weeks to the area where they were taken by the soldiers.
The policy of restrictions, closures and demolitions carried out by the Israeli army, combined with the continuous harassment made by the settlers of the area, denies Palestinians’ human rights, hindering them to live in their villages, to cultivate their lands and to graze their flocks and preventing the development of local communities.
Nevertheless, the Palestinian communities in the South Hebron Hills are strongly involved in affirming their rights and resist to the Israeli occupation choosing the nonviolent way.
Operation Dove has maintained an international presence in At-Tuwani and South Hebron Hills since 2004.
Pictures of the incident: http://goo.gl/e9QUi