Below is a press release that Christian Peacemaker Team’s colleagues Operation Dove wrote about a settler attack on February 8 2014. Operation Dove coordinates the international presence in Firing Zone 918 in which CPT participates.
Settlers attack Palestinian shepherds, Israeli activists and internationals during nonviolent action in South Hebron Hills
Israeli soldiers allow settlers to attack Palestinians who were grazing flocks on their own land
February 9, 2014
Saturday morning during a nonviolent action in which Palestinians claimed the right to access their own land, a group of settlers from the illegal outpost of Mitzpe Eshtamoa attacked Palestinians, Israeli activists and internationals with stones and sticks, while Israeli soldiers stood by and watched.
At 9.36 a.m. about fifteen Palestinians from the South Hebron Hills village of Shuweika, accompanied by eight Israeli activists and five internationals, went with five flocks into the valley near Mitzpe Eshtamoa to claim their right to access their own fields. When the shepherds arrived in the valley they found a Star of David created with stones and rocks on Palestinian-owned property. Palestinians, Israeli activists and internationals together removed the stones and rocks, cleaning up the field. At 9.59 am a group of settlers appeared from the outpost, looking toward the shepherds and activists. After about half an hour settlers started organizing the attack, even as Israeli soldiers were inside the outpost.
At 10:53 a group of twenty settlers, half of them masked, stormed down the hill and threw stones with slingshots. Israeli soldiers watched the scene without intervening, even when four settlers ran towards an Israeli activist and beat up him. After that the settlers moved to a nearby hill and continued throwing stones. Only at this time did the soldiers unsuccessfully attempt to stop the settlers. Several minutes later the Palestinian landowner arrived in the valley to show his property document to the soldiers. Settler also threw stones at the landowner, but they didn’t hit him.
No settlers were arrested or detained by soldiers or Israeli police, the latter arriving on the scene at about 12.00 p.m.
Despite this event, the Palestinians from the village of Shuweika are still strongly committed to accessing their land for everyday farming activities.
Operation Dove has maintained an international presence in At-Tuwani and the South Hebron Hills since 2004.
Pictures of the incident: click here
Video of the incident: click here
For further information:
[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.]