November 30, 2013
At Tuwani – On the morning of November 29, a Palestinian noticed several olive trees damaged in two fields close to the outpost of Havat Ma’on. The owner is Rabai Palestinian family. When international observers arrived to the place, they counted 25 olive trees cut or seriously damaged. According to Rabai family, some of these olive trees were planted last year, after that the olive grove was damaged by settlers from Havat Ma’on.
The number of Palestinian-owned trees uprooted and damaged in the South Hebron Hills area from the beginning of 2013 now stands at 270. This is a substantial increase over 2012, when 101 olive trees were damaged.
This is the last case of serious olive grove destruction in the South Hebron Hills area. On the first of the 2013 year, on May 10, 62 olive trees were cut during the night in a field next to bypass road 317, near the village of At Tuwani. On a small wall near the olive grove the slogan “price tag for those who steal” was found.
According to Nir Hasson (Haaretz, August 21, 2013), “Jewish extremists originally used the term ‘price tag’ to describe vandalism and violence that targeted Israelis as well as Palestinians and was aimed at preventing or avenging evacuations of West Bank settlers.” John Lyons, instead, wrote (The Australian, September 17, 2011): “Some settlers practice a ‘price tag’ policy: if the Israeli government does something they do not like, such as trying to close an illegal outpost, they in turn punish Palestinians, by poisoning or burning olive trees, desecrating mosques or attacking cars.” Finally, according toThe Economist (September 2011): well-armed settlers “exact what they call ‘price-tags’ […] in the hope of provoking a conflict which they feel sure they could win.”
Olive trees are an essential resource for the Palestinian community in the South Hebron Hills area, and their damage causes serious economic loss.
Nevertheless the Palestinian communities of the South Hebron Hills area are still strongly involved using the nonviolence as a way to resist to the occupation.
Operation Dove has maintained an international presence in At-Tuwani and the South Hebron Hills since 2004.
Pictures of the incident: http://snipurl.com/288w2n1
For further information:
Operation Dove, 054 99 25 773
[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.]