Good Friday report from Palestine

WNPJ member Cassandra Dixon, left,  of Mary House reports from Palestine:

Hi friends -- I hope you're well - best wishes for Good Friday and Easter, and the full moon.

Yesterday the people in Tuba Village, near Tuwani, experienced a terrible search of their homes by Israeli Special Forces police who claimed that settlers believed the villagers had stolen two goats and somehow hidden the among the household belongings in the homes of two families. Twenty soldiers, in eight vehicles arrived in the village of about 50 people in mid morning. 


The soldiers upended bedding, dumped out kitchen utensils from drawers, threw food, tools, nuts  bolts, schoolwork, medicine and every other imaginable possession into heaps on the floor.  They forced the families out of their homes and into a tent, and would not allow them to watch the search, or to videotape it, or to speak with internationals.  They refused to let internationals close enough to videotape while they were searching, and at one point ordered a resident of Tuba who was speaking to an international on the phone to say that "everything is fine". 

They interrogated several villagers, but would not allow internationals to be present or to record the interviews.   They also questioned shepherds who were out with sheep in the surrounding area, and residents of several  smaller nearby villages.

About half of the children who walk through the settlement outpost to attend school in Tuwani are from Tuba, and they were in Tuwani in school during the destruction of their homes.

Here's a link to photos of the destruction - there are also photos there of many of the children -- and the release we sent out late last night is below.
--I'm finding it hard to say anything personal about this event, but hope that you'll hold these people, and these soldiers, and the settlers, in your thoughts  in the coming days. love cassandra

Link to photos of ransacked houses in Tuba village


For Immediate Release

Tuba, South Hebron Hills, West Bank


TUBA RELEASE: Israeli soldiers ransack Palestinian homes and damage belongings in Tuba village


[Note: According to the Geneva Conventions, the International Court of Justice in the Hague, and numerous United Nations resolutions, all Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) are illegal. Most settlement outposts are considered illegal under Israeli law.]


For more information contact: Christian Peacemaker Teams 054 253 1323

On March 31, the Israeli Special Police Forces entered the Palestinian village of Tuba, immediately east of Ma'on settlement, and destroyed household belongings in two homes in the village. The police forced Tuba residents from their homes and told them that they were searching for two goats which settlers from the outpost of Havat Ma'on had reported missing. The police also accused the villagers of possessing weapons, and while questioning nearly a dozen villagers, the police upended nearly every belonging in both homes. The police ransacked three bedrooms, a kitchen, and a storage unit. International activists and Tuba residents reported that the police left the scene without confiscating any weapons or sheep and without making any arrests. During the search police personnel refused to let international activists observe the search of the homes or the interrogations of the residents.


The village of Tuba lies near the Israeli outpost of Havat Ma'on, and shepherds from the village are frequently forced from their grazing land near the outpost. During March, shepherds, international activists, and members of the Israeli peace organization, Taayush, participated in a series of nonviolent actions in an attempt to prevent the Israeli military from forcing Tuba shepherds and sheep from their grazing land. On multiple occassions in March, Israeli soldiers declared an area of land including the village of Tuba to be a closed military zone forcing all Palestinian shepherds to leave the area. The soldiers also arrested Israeli activists who refused to leave the area.


Children from Tuba who attend school in At-Tuwani must walk with a military escrot through through Havat Ma'on to reach their school. They are frequently subjected to threats and assaults from settlers.