Monday, April 06, 2009

I have to admit it. I haven't done much blogging during today (and I get all of my blogging for a ten day period done in one day. Blogger just makes you think I write more often than that). But I'm going to promise to try to do some while I'm in Tuwani. Until then, take a look at this release. It summarizes the last ten days I spent in Tuwani pretty darn well:

In three recent incidents Palestinian shepherds asserted their right to
graze their sheep on their own land, despite Israeli settlers' attempts to
intimidate the Palestinians and disrupt their agricultural work.
Palestinians in the South Hebron hills have responded to recent violence
and incursions on their lands with a law suit and a nonviolent grazing

The morning of March 22, as shepherds from the village of At-Tuwani grazed
their sheep in nearby Humra valley, a settler brought his flock to the
area from the Israeli settlement outpost of Havot Ma'on. The settler
called the police and army, claiming that one of the Palestinians had
thrown a stone at him. When the police arrived, they detained the accused
Palestinian and took him to Kiryat Arba police station. Internationals
who had been present and videotaped the scene showed the police video and
pictures demonstrating that the shepherd had not thrown stones, and the
man was released. The following day the Palestinian shepherd returned to
the police station with papers proving his ownership of the valley. He
has filed a suit against the settler for trespassing.

On March 25, while Palestinian shepherds grazed their sheep on land
belonging to the village of Juwayye, twenty Israelis approached from the
settlement of Ma'on and shot at the shepherds. Despite the presence of
Israeli soldiers and the Ma'on settlement security guard at the time of
the shooting, no Israelis were arrested. Palestinian shepherds continued
to graze their sheep for two hours after the shooting, but were then
forced from the land by soldiers claiming they were too close to road 317.

On March 28 shepherds from Tuwani and other villages in the South Hebron
Hills responded to recent harassment by gathering peacefully with their
families to graze sheep in Khoruba valley near Tuwani. After they had
been in the valley for about an hour four settlers, two with their faces
covered, walked out from Havat Ma'on outpost into the flocks and among the
shepherds and their children. In response, Palestinian shepherds sat down
and refused to remove their sheep from the area. Israeli soldiers,
police, and border police arrived but did nothing to prevent the settlers
from disrupting the grazing sheep.

Palestinians in Tuwani and the surrounding villages face continued threats
of violence and intimidation from setters. With the start of the grazing
season, villagers say they expect the actions of the settlers will become
increasingly disruptive, but that the villages remain committed to
nonviolence as they confront the incursions.

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