Saturday, December 24 2011 Plowing in Wadi J’kheish, visit to the villages of Ateer, T’wani and Tuba

A number of activists accompanied a harvest adjacent to Wadi J’kheish, about a kilometer southwest of the settlement of Susia. The activists continued on to a visit in the Bedouin village Ateer, located within the green line, some ten kilometers from the “Shani” border crossing; last Wednesday [21.12.11] the Israel Land Administration [Minhal Mekarka’ey Israel] carried out house demolitions in the village, leaving about 60 people without a roof over their heads. Of these about thirty will pass the night in a tin structure with a torn roof while the rest will be spread out in the village’s remaining houses.

From there we continued to T’wani, bordering upon the illegal outpost of Havat Ma’on, whose settlers frequently attack the residents of T’wani and damage their property. Last week a new sentry tower was erected on the same hill upon which the settlers had once erected a tent; this looked like another attempt to assert control of the area. On the way we were joined by four soldiers who called for reinforcements; by the time we arrived at the sentry tower significant forces had already arrived. They were uncomfortable with the prospect of activists and Palestinians arriving in the area of Havat Ma’on. Army officers pressured the Palestinians to leave. We continued in the direction of the chicken coops of Ma’on and from there on to Tuba.

Unfortunately, the residents of Tuba themselves cannot use this path; instead they are forced to make a detour of over 20 kilometers, about an hour’s tractor ride. The children of Tuba and its surrounding area make this commute to school every day accompanied by the army. Often the escort arrives late or not at all, and it does not prevent the settlers from bothering and at times even attacking them.

We were greeted with hospitality in Tuba and after about an hour headed back to Jerusalem.

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