violence in the South Hebron Hills

To tell you the truth, I’m not sure of the right words to describe my feelings when I read the news below: sadness, anger, dejection, frustration, disbelief.  These all get at some of my basic thoughts when I read the news.  Please read for yourself:

CPTnet  (www.cpt.org) 17 November 2008
AT-TUWANI: Israeli settlers attack Palestinian shepherds, kill donkey, injure internationals.

On 15 November 2008, around 9:00 a.m., approximately fifteen masked Israeli settlers from the illegal outpost of Havat Ma’on attacked three Palestinian shepherds who were grazing their flocks in a valley south of the outpost.  The settlers came running down from a ridge above the shepherds, hurling rocks. The shepherds were able to get their flocks away before the rocks injured them.

During the incident, the settlers were able to steal two of the shepherds’ donkeys.  The settlers killed one donkey with a knife wound in the chest area.  They slashed another across the throat, but the donkey survived.

Settlers also hit two internationals from Christian Peacemaker Teams—who were accompanying the shepherds—with large rocks.  One CPTer sustained minor injuries.

The Israeli police were called four times before responding to the incident.  They did not initially respond to reports of settlers attacking Palestinian shepherds and internationals, but only responded when they learned of the attack on the donkeys.

The assault occurred on land the shepherds graze daily and which the settlers hope to take for the expansion of Havat Ma’on.  Replacing the donkey will cost around 1000 NIS, or $265.  The Israeli occupation has impoverished the shepherds of the area, and they are currently dependent on outside food aid.

For additional photos, see http://cpt.org/gallery/Settlers-Kill-Donkey.
See also a video containing a small portion of the event and aftermath: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFPaPaURfI0.
(Warning: pictures and video both contain graphic images of slain donkey.)
No matter one’s feelings about the situation in the Middle East and Palestine/Israel, I would hope you, as a reader, can recognize the horror of the event above.  While this is not something that happens every day, the idea that such a situation exists where a people daily encounter threats or the possibility of violence as large scale as this or even the “simple” harassment of throwing rocks at children on the way to school, with seemingly no reaction from the International community, is almost as much a scar on us as it is to those who commit such actions.

Education of the situation in Palestine, especially in the West Bank where settlement expansion continues to take place, is extremely important for everyone.  I call upon you to learn for yourself, tell others you know what you have read here and what you learn elsewhere, write letters to the editor of your newspaper, do whatever it takes so you and others in your life know the details or the situation (feel free to ask me, too, if you’d like).  But no matter what, it is clearly time that we as a nation and as fellow human beings with all people around the world recognize the oppression of the Palestinian people and work toward a non-violent, peaceful end to the situation that creates an environment where such horrors go unnoticed by the world community.

Some resources to get you started:
Christian Peacemaker Teams (Palestine teams): www.cpt.org/work/palestine
Michigan Peace Team (Palestine teams blog): mptinpalestine.blogspot.com
International Middle East Media Center (general news of Palestine): www.imemc.org
Haaretz (Israeli newspaper with news from another point of view): www.haaretz.com
(Read here an interesting article from Haaretz regarding US opinions of the peace talks)

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One Response to violence in the South Hebron Hills

  1. Tarek Abuata says:

    Thank you very much for posting this story. We need to continue speaking out the Truth!
    Blessings to you,
    Tarek Abuata
    CPT Palestine Support Coordinator

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