December 2016

CURRENT SITUATION

On December 23, the UN Security Council Resolution #2334 reaffirmed “the inadmissibility of acquisition of territory by force, reaffirming the obligation of Israel, the occupying Power, to abide strictly with its legal obligations and responsibilities […] condemning all measure aimed at altering the demographic composition, characteristics and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, including, inter alia, the construction and expansion of settlements, transfer of Israeli settlers, confiscation of land, demolition of homes and displacement of Palestinian civilians, in violation of international humanitarian law and relevant resolutions.”
This recent decision clashes with the reality of a month characterized by the perpetration of abuses by Israeli armed forces in the South Hebron Hills: incessant raids and detentions of Palestinians (according to the non-governmental Palestinian organization Addameer 40 percent of Palestinian men have been detained at least once in their life), deliveries of demolition orders, demolitions of Palestinian structures and confiscations.

As on December 6, when Israeli forces confiscated solar panels and destroyed the electrical system in Susya, leaving half the village without electricity; and December 13, the day when Israeli forces seized a caravan provided by a humanitarian organization to the village community of Al-Mirkez, used as a center of first medical assistance.

SHARING, WORK AND NEWS ABOUT VOLUNTEERS

After a long waiting at last rain came, making it possible to start planting. Inhabitants of At-Tuwani and neighboring villages spent many hours planting and plowing the land, some by means of tractors, other with mules, and Operazione Colomba volunteers accompanied them. Unfortunately, even such simple tasks can become risky in the South Hebron Hills.
For example, on December 27 some farmers from the Palestinian village of Umm Al Kheir had to abandon their field, because a settler from the settlement of Carmel tried to steal their mule. Israeli police intervened shortly afterwards, but merely spoke to the settler, and took no action against him, thus failing to protect the fundamental right of the farmers of being able to freely dispose of their land.
School patrol was monitored as usual. Soldiers, heedless of the right to education of children and the climate conditions, were often late, forcing kids from Tuba to wait outside, despite the cold and the danger coming from the settlement of Ma’on and the illegal outpost of Havat Ma’on. In addition to accumulated delays, on December 6 soldiers refused to escort a Palestinian university student who had to return to Tuba from At-Tuwani, without providing valid reasons. Only after the pressure exerted by Operation Dove volunteers and attorneys, soldiers agreed to escort the boy. On December 21, while the children of Tuba were waiting for soldiers for more than half an hour, a group of settlers caught up with volunteers on lookout point forcing them to leave and thus preventing them to monitor the path of children.
Volunteers have been noticing an increasing presence of settlers in the area in front of the illegal outpost of Havat Ma-on, which limits the freedom of movement of Palestinians, and sometimes even the activities of volunteers themselves.
On December 25, after volunteers day off for Christmas Eve, in the Palestinian villages of Tabban and Majaz, within the “Firing Zone 918”, 20 “stop working orders” and a demolition order were handed. This means that 133 Palestinians, 65 of which are children, are likely to remain homeless. Volunteers visited the families involved.