Saturday, July 24 2010 drawing water in Tawamin and demonstration in Hebron

The village of Khirbet a-Tawamin lies south-west of the settlement of Susya. In 2001 the settlers, assisted by the army, expelled the residents of the village, which to this day was not rehabilitated. Some of the caves which served as homes for the villagers were destroyed by the settlers, others are used by them as targets for shooting practice.

Last Saturday we returned to Tawamin to draw water from one of the cisterns which used to serve the destroyed village and bring it to the neighboring village of Bir el-‘Id, which, like most of the Palestinian villages in the area, is not connected to running water. Following the continuous perverted activity in the area the army recently reached the decision that, as most of the villages in the South Hebron Hills are not connected to the water grid, the Palestinians’ right to water overrules the claims of the settlers to ownership of the cisterns (never backed up by documents). On the public struggle to connect the village of a-Tawaneh and its successful conclusion see here.

Following this decision the work of pumping was relatively peaceful (though the army asked the activists not to stand near the cisterns, in order not to annoy the settlers).

After a fairly long argument the flock retreated together with the shepherdess. The settler Avidan, on the other hand, insisted on remaining near one of the cisterns and giving us a long lecture on his two thousand year old right to the land of Israel, the fact that all the Palestinians in the area are descendents of Jews, and other highly racist matters. After a while even he had had enough and he left he place.

We paid a short visit to the area of Umm Zeitune, where a few days previously settlers had attached a Palestinian, prevented from reaching a cistern and stolen a sheep from him in full sight of the soldiers (who did nothing about it). Then some of us continued to the demonstration in Hebron.

The demonstration is one of a weekly series in the city of Hebron, going on for several months, demanding the disbanding of the settlement and the opening of Shehada Street. This Saturday the army reacted with much violence. One Isreali and four international activists were arrested. After that there was a protest rally opposite the police station in Kiriat Arba demanding the release of the prisoners, during which another Palestinian activist was arrested.