Saturday, August 2 2008 Protest march from Tuwani to Tuba and settlers violence in Hebron

We were invited to join a march of the children and residents of Tuwani, Tuba & Maghaer Al-Abeed, protesting the barring of the road from Tuwani to the neighboring villages by the Ma’on settlers, and repeated assaults of the Tuba & Maghaer Al-Abeed children on their way to Tuwani schools. As customary recently, the Israeli “security” forces had put many efforts in denying access of Israeli and international activists to the area – declared as “restricted military zone”. Unfortunately, most activists failed to reach the demonstration. The least that did, witnessed a joyful & colorful parade, overcoming the Israeli military, police and settlers trying to prevent them even the mere right to protest. Despite all, the parade marched through the shortest road from Tuwani and Tuba – a road closed for Palestinian traffic for years (excluding organized Tuba children groups’ passage to Tuwani, escorted by military forces). Today, Tuwani children and parents escorted Tuba’s children in the forbidden road. During the activity, an international and two Israeli activists were arrested. They were paroled later.

This, though, didn’t conclude the day’s events. After the march, four activists that arrived at the Hebron police station to collect one of the paroled detainees, noticed a group of approximately twenty settlers escorted by two soldiers approaching Jaabree’s family yard (an area announced closed for settlers), just in front of the police station. As we were wondering how this group arrived there (not to mention the military escort…), they started flinging rocks at the Jaabree residence, assaulting some of the family members. The escorting soldiers held to their positions – and did nothing to prevent the violent outbreak. Luckily, we were close enough to arrive swiftly at the scene with cameras, and thus to pressure the soldiers to withhold the settlers’ violence. Three of the family members were injured, two required medical care. In the meanwhile, other settlers noticed Ezra’s car near the police station, and took the opportunity to sabotage it – just a few meters from the police station’s gate-keeper. The four activists rushed back there, and were immediately surrounded and attacked by a crowd of settlers. That managed to engage the police officers in action – arresting the activists (and none of the attackers). Eventually, the activists were paroled as well. Valuable medical supplies and documents were stolen from Ezra’s car, in addition to two cut tires.

The Israel Broadcast Authority radio newsflash, in its unbiased fashion, stated that “four left activists burst into a settlement, clashing with settlers” – laugh or cry?