Sunday, January 20, 2008

It feels wonderful to be back in at-Tuwani after a month away. When I left, the ground was brown and bare, but now the hills are covered with tiny, miraculous green shoots. The winter rain has come (though not nearly enough of it has arrived) and the brush that was picked clean once again has thistles enough for shepherds to return to grazing their sheep. I’ve spent the last few days catching up on all that I have missed while I’ve been away - and trying to keep up with all that’s been going here. We have been extremely busy. Settlers have been harassing and threatening Palestinians with a vengeance, probably in hopes of showing Palestinians that they will be attacked if they graze “too close” to the settlement. But Palestinians shepherds have been pushing back by grazing their sheep on hills and in valleys that the settlement is trying to annex, or rather, steal. As usual, I’m amazed by the bravery these shepherds. And I’m pretty well sick of running after jeeps and settlers. But I’m have been enjoying a precious, rare feeling of hope - the villages of the South Hebron Hills are resisting and they aren’t allowing themselves to be pushed around.

There is simply no way that I can recount the events of the last ten days, so here are some links to the press releases that we’ve sent out:

Settlers fire on Palestinians in the South Hebron Hills

Cistern contaminated in Humra Valley

Additionally, olive trees have been destroyed (probably by settlers), soldier have threatened Palestinian shepherds with arrest just for grazing their sheep, settlers have approached shepherds with clubs, though they turned back, thank God, and settlers stole a donkey from a Palestinian farmer living in Tuba. Oh, and I almost forget, Israeli soldiers "mooned" (exposed their bums) to Palestinians and CPTers. We happen to have an excellent video of their display, which we hope to post soon. Yes, we've laughed about this a lot, but it's really not funny. Palestinians in the area were rather horrified, as in an Islamic context it's shameful to see someone else's nudity. But our neighbors have asked us to share our video with as many people as possible. And so we will.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Adventures in Wonderland

On 25 October, the army left demolition orders under stones at the entrances to homes in the village. On 29 October, soldiers in jeeps and bulldozers began to demolish the tents and caves without giving the residents leave to remove their possessions. According to testimonies villagers gave to B`Tselem, soldiers beat a villager who tried to protect his flock, which he kept in one of the caves. Only after an officer intervened was he allowed to evacuate his livestock.
B'Tselem, Army demolishes village housing over 200 Palestinians,
west of the Barrier.
Recently, a jeep left a demolition order for the at-Tuwani mosque under a rock in the village. I guess the village is not alone in this indignity. The occupation is alway strange, but it's surprising to me what elements of it aren't just random, but actually planned - at least to some degree.
I'm late, but this was too wonderful not to share

Santa Comes to Bethlehem for Nonviolent Protest

For a blog that normally ignores holidays all together, I took a strangely observant turn this Christmas time. So let me take a moment to make a retroactive wish for all of the readers of this blog: whatever your faith or lack thereof, may your observances be inspired and maybe the upcoming year (whenever your calender starts it), be filled with hope.