At Tuwani – On the morning of November 19, two Palestinian shepherds and a staff member of the Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem were detained by Israeli army in the South Hebron Hills. The shepherds had been grazing their flocks on Khelly Hill, At Tuwani village area. This hill is located adjacent to the Israeli settlement of Ma’on.
At 7.50 a.m. international volunteers noticed the Ma’on security coordinator, named Gedalia, was close to two Palestinian shepherds, while three Israeli soldiers were also approaching them.
The soldiers spoke with Gedalia and then asked the Palestinians for their identification cards, which they did not have.
Gedalia tried to prevent the internationals from videotaping this incident.
After several minutes Gedalia, in front of the soldiers, said to the Palestinians: “You come from Carmel (a village near At Tuwani), you go back to Carmel and you stay over there and if you want to come here, you have to come with your ID”. The Palestinians responded by questioning his authority to give them orders.
At around 8.00 a.m. a B’tselem staff member arrived to the area and the Ma’on security coordinator began to scream at him. At 8:25 a.m. the soldiers asked the B’tselem staffer, who is Palestinian, for his ID card. They took without any explanations. The soldiers told the internationals that Palestinians aren’t allowed to graze sheep in that area, although the soldiers showed no maps and gave no clear explanations about this decision.
At around 8.30 a.m. Israeli police arrived and, after consulting with the Ma’on security coordinator and soldiers, took the two Palestinian shepherds to the police station in the settlement of Kiryat Arba, accusing them of grazing their flock on Israeli land and moving without ID cards. The two shepherds were released after 2.5 hours, after police checked their identities. During this entire time, the Palestinian staff member of B’tselem was detained without charge and without any explanation. At around 11.30 a.m. soldiers returned his ID card to him.
On October 15, Operation Dove volunteers were present when an Israeli soldier, under the orders of the aforementioned Ma’on security coordinator Gedalia, arrested a Palestinian shepherd without any charges (see more: http://snipurl.com/287iuex). After taking the shepherd to the Suseya military base for interrogation and to check his identity, they left him near the outpost of Shi’ma, somes 17 kilometers from the place of arrest.