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Israeli army invaded South Hebron Hills village of At Tuwani overnight : Access roads to the village were blocked and soldiers broke into Palestinian houses
At Tuwani - Large Israeli military forces broke into the South Hebron Hills village of At Tuwani Sunday night and surrounded it. The army blocked accesses to the village and searched numerous Palestinian homes, finding nothing.
At 7.10 pm At Tuwani inhabitants informed Operation Dove volunteers about shooting that occurred near the Havat Ma`on outpost. From the Palestinian home located closest to Havat Ma`on, the volunteers noticed that headlights from the outpost were shining light on the entire Humra valley, located beside it. The volunteers then saw several people walking in the valley, flanked by military jeeps.
At 7.40 pm several flares were shot from various positions around At Tuwani, as Israeli military jeeps and soldiers on foot began to approach the Palestinian village from three different directions. At the same time five settlers and three soldiers entered At Tuwani. The soldiers left the settlers alone, who checked the area using headlights. The settlers were from Mitzpe Yair, Avigayil and Havat Ma`on, all Israeli outposts located in the South Hebron Hills area.
At 8.10 pm two international volunteers went to the entrance of At Tuwani, where they found eight military vehicles. Israeli soldiers were stopping Palestinian cars, searching them, body-searching all the male passengers and taking the vehicle keys. Two army jeeps remained there to block the road and did not allow anyone to enter the village while six jeeps entered At Tuwani. In total five Palestinian-owned cars with about eleven men, three women, an elderly person and a child were stopped. The soldiers allowed the people to return home after more than two hours.
In the meanwhile, soldiers broke into Palestinian homes in At Tuwani and searched them, frightening the inhabitants and in some cases threatening to arrest Palestinians and internationals who were filming the events. The Israeli army searched the local mosque, five homes -one with just women inside- and two stables, without finding anything.
At least ten army and two Border Police vehicles invaded the village, in addition to numerous soldiers on foot.
The reaction of At Tuwani inhabitants demonstrates how they are strongly involved in using nonviolence as a way to resist the Israeli occupation: all village residents demonstrated solidarity in the homes invaded by the soldiers;; some residents were filming the developments; the women made pressure on the soldiers, who ran after them, to open the road. Finally, some Palestinians invited soldiers to drink tea while they were breaking into their houses.
The absence of aggressive behaviors toward the soldiers and the constant presence of cameras substantially contributed to a decrease in the level of violence.
The Israeli army left At Tuwani village at 10.30 pm, providing no explanation about the military operation to the internationals and the local inhabitants.
Operation Dove has maintained an international presence in At-Tuwani and the South Hebron Hills since 2004.
Pictures of the incident:
Video of the incident: available soon
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.]
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