Sophia's Peace Work

Monday, November 01, 2004

I've been, to on degree or another, sick ever since I returned ... flu, cold, something else that's got me run down. I think it's been coming on for awhile (which would explain my rather insipid and spotty posts of late). I've lots to say but until I feel up to snuff, I'll leave you with an update on the village of Tuwani in the South Hebron hills.

At-Tuwani Villagers Meet For First Time With Senior Occupation Official
November 1, 2004

CPTers were present in at-Tuwani Sunday morning when village leaders met with an Israeli official, who said he is the head of the Israeli Civil (Military) Administration for the southern West Bank. One of the villagers present at the hour long meeting said that the official asked to be told of "your needs."

The villagers listed these concerns:

*Water: Villagers must gather it in buckets from a small spring that only provides enough for drinking and cooking. Poorer quality rainwater trapped in cisterns is used for washing. The Ma'on settlement's water line passes only sixty meters from the village. The village wants to tap into it.

*Clinic: The village wants to finish building their clinic, currently under an occupation stop-work order.

*Safe passage to the at-Tuwani primary school for the children of Tuba: The children are afraid to use the direct one-mile path because settlers from Ma'on have been attacking them and the accompanying internationals; so theyare forced to follow a circuitous hilly five mile route.

*Electricity: The Ma'on settlement's power comes from a grid, while at-Tuwani must get its power from a diesel generator, which it can only afford to run for a few hours each evening. At-Tuwani wants to connect to the grid.

*Road access to Karmil: The villagers want the Israeli military to remove three dirt barricades blocking the road from at-Tuwani to the larger Palestinian population centers of Karmil, Yatta and Hebron. These barricades prevent access to the hospital, secondary schools and stores located there.

*Improvement of the road to al-Mufakra and villages to the south: Residents of small villages south of Tuwani must travel through it by a very rough path in order to reach those larger Palestinian centers described above. Five years ago, Israeli authorities said, "No" to villager requests to improve the path.

Describing their complaints, a village leader said, "These are humanitarian needs [which] under occupation, the Israelis are responsible for." Continuing, he said, "the civil administrator asked us to provide engineering drawings for connecting our village to water and electricity. He told us to go ahead and build the clinic, but," the leader added, "We still don't have a permit in writing."
The leaders said that they were also told that the questions about the roads would be studied, and Israeli soldiers would be assigned to accompany theschool children. The leader also told CPT that the visit by such a high ranking occupation official has never happened before in at-Tuwani.

"This meeting today didn't just happen. We have had these problems, and many attacks by settlers for years, but no one outside knew. Thank you for being here, you have brought us attention. Please thank all the people who have helped us, the media, the US consular officials who visited, and the Israeli and international peace groups. Your help made this visit happen."

CPT intends to remain in at-Tuwani monitoring the situation.


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