Armed settlers went into At Tuwani, a Palestinian village in the South Hebron Hills area, in southern West Bank

ottobre 25, 2013 at 5:01 pm

On October 25, at 7:40 a.m. gathered on the entrance of the At Tuwani village a group of about 70 people, among which some settlers from Ma’on and from other nearby settlements and outposts, accompanied by three Israeli military jeeps and Border Police. Around 8:00 a.m. they moved into the village.  Several of them were armed with M-16s and handguns. The group stopped in different places in the village also entering in old Palestinian stone houses and caves infringing the private properties. Subsequently they invaded the archeological site located between several Palestinian homes, in the middle of the village. The whole group stood there for at least one hour, while some of them were provoking the Palestinian inhabitants. One young settler harassed a girl from At Tuwani threatening to throw her a stone. 

In this area some archeologists, escorted by Israeli army, excavated in 2011. In December of the same year, during a meeting in the settlement of Susiya, some Israeli archeologists explained that in the site there is an ancient synagogue. In the meeting was also explained how to reach the site. Others experts that came in the village affirmed that the evidences are dating from the Byzantine period. However these results have never been officially confirmed.

At Tuwani inhabitants asked to Border Police officers and soldiers explanations, and told them that some of the settlers present in the village, had attacked and threatened them and their families on the graze lands or field. They were completely unheard and one Palestinian was even identified by the Border Police. In response to this, the women of the village of At Tuwani arrived on the scene, preventing an unjustified but likely arrest.

Later, the entire group moved to the village of Ar Rakeez and stopped again in front of a Palestinian home. Despite the fear, the owner of the house offered some bread to the settlers. After this, they all went toward the bypass road 317.

The people of the caravan did not give details on the escorted tour, or even on the private property infringement. They just said they visited the synagogue in the Jewish village “Khirbet At- Tuwani”. During the whole tour some settlers, even armed, tried repeatedly to prevent the internationals from taping the events and insulted them.

This is just the last of several ongoing provocations carried out by the Israeli army and settlers to which the South Hebron Hills palestinian communities keep responding in a nonviolent way.

Pictures of the incident: