Saturday, July 17 2010 Water Collection in Tawamin for the Residents of Bir El-Eid, Accompanying Shepherds in Mufkarah and the Demonstration in Hebron

On Saturday we went to the cisterns in Tawamin to meet with the residents of Bir El-Eid and to continue collecting water and transporting them to cisterns the access to which is less disturbed by the settlers, a task in which we have been engaged for a month (you can read more about this in earlier posts). As expected, a few minutes after we arrived at the cisterns a few military and police jeeps arrived.  Unexpectedly, this time the soldiers did not come in order to prevent the activity and to support the settlers’ claims to ownership over the cisterns bur rather to protect the work and to allow the residents of Bir El-Eid to draw the water, as we requested from them in previous occasions as a part of their responsibility as the upholders of the law in the area; a welcome development.  The military forces only had one request: that the Israeli activists not remain in that place (seemingly in order not to drive the settlers crazy).  The activists withdrew to the nearby hilltop from which it was possible to see the water collection in case their presence was needed; they busied themselves with observing the work, informing new activists about what was going on in the area, and sunbathing.

At the same time, a few activists went to accompany shepherds in the area of Mufkarah.  A lone and stressed soldier asked us not to approach the Avigail outpost.  Later a military jeep arrived and a settler came to converse with the soldiers.  Aside from this, everything was quiet.

We can summarize the day as blessedly boring which testifies to a great success (relatively) in protecting the rights of the residents of the area to work their lands.

One event which sullied the otherwise successful impression of the day happened during the weekly demonstration in Hebron against the closure of Shudaha street and the policies of separation and discrimination in the city.  Of the few activists who continued to the demonstration, one was violently arrested after he was accidentally identified by the soldiers who confused him with another activist.  The activist was released after a few hours.

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