AT-TUWANI: Soldiers kill Palestinian migrant worker, increase harassment of villagers in South Hebron Hills
One of the men was delivering goods to at-Tuwani. Although he showed valid documents, both for his van and the road he was using, the soldiers removed and confiscated his license plates. The man was indignant and told CPTers, "The soldiers asked to see my papers, so I showed them. I have the correct papers, but they punched and shoved me. I am an older man, and I showed them my papers, but they still hit me."
12 February 2009
Three incidents in recent days indicate that Israeli occupation authorities are stepping up their aggression in the South Hebron Hills, particularly in response to Palestinian migrant laborers.
On the morning of Monday, 2 February, Israeli soldiers shot dead a Palestinian man on the Israeli side of the border near the Palestinian village of Jinba and the Israeli settlement of Beit Yatir. Taysir Manasra, 27, from the Hebron-area village of Bani Na'im, was attempting to travel into Israel for work.
CPTers, along with other human rights workers, arrived on the scene at 1:30 pm to find a bullet-riddled car, a puddle of blood, and soldiers and police detaining about ten Palestinian men. A corpse had just been removed from the scene.
Other Palestinian migrants told the internationals that they had already been detained when Manasra drove his car through an army ambush. The soldiers ordered them to lie facedown before they shot at Manasra's car and killed him.
Under Israeli law it is illegal for Palestinians to cross the 1949 Green Line (the internationally recognized border between Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories) without a permit, which is extremely difficult to obtain. Along part of the West Bank's border near the Israeli town of Be'er Sheva, the barrier is not yet completed. At-Tuwani, five km north of the border, lies directly on the primary route traveled by Palestinian workers. (For a map of this area see http://tinyurl.com/bt629r.)
The same morning, Israeli soldiers set up a checkpoint on the Palestinian road from at-Tuwani to al-Birkeh. They stopped two Palestinian vehicles, removing and physically assaulting the drivers.
The other man transports Palestinian schoolchildren daily between at-Tuwani and the village of Susiya (three km southwest). He also showed the soldiers valid papers. One of the soldiers grabbed and struck him repeatedly on the face and upper body, before letting him go.
The following day, 3 February, Israeli soldiers arrested a Palestinian at his home in Mfagara, one km southwest of at-Tuwani. They claimed that the van parked outside his home was not correctly registered. CPTers videotaped him as he showed the soldiers his documents, which they confiscated. The man, a well-known local peace activist, calmly agreed to go with the soldiers in order to settle the dispute. The soldiers handcuffed him, placed a black hood over his head, and drove him away in an army humvee.
For images of these incidents, go to http://tinyurl.com/cgkqll.