Sophia's Peace Work

Friday, April 01, 2005

The latest from my good friends, the Christian Peacemaker Team in the West Bank, Isreal/Palestine - Poison Pellets Kill More Sheep

March 31, 2005

Tuwani, South Hebron Hills - Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) members Christy Bischoff and Lorne Friesen and Operation Dove (OD) members accompanied Palestinian shepherds and approximately 500 sheep near the village of At-Tuwani on March 30 when shepherds again discovered poison spread over the hillside where their sheep were grazing. This area is separate from the one where shepherds had discovered poison on March 23. It is unclear when this recently discovered poison was deposited. Shepherds and villagers have experienced a pattern of harassment by residents of the nearby Israeli settlement of Ma'on and the illegal Havat Ma'on outpost for many years. In the last two months alone shepherds have reported at least twenty incidents of settler violence.

As of March 31, four sheep in the area have died and twenty five others are very sick with symptoms of poisoning. Gazelles, squirrels, snakes, and storks have also died. Scientists from Bir Zeit University analyzed the poison from the March 23 incident. It is highly toxic, with only 50 miligrams needed to kill a single sheep. Therefore, only two or three of the tiny green pellets are needed for a deadly dose. The poison is very soluble; if inhaled or touched it can be harmful to humans. In addition, it can damage the land if dissolved by rain. Thousands of the poison pellets have been spread over the hillsides near Havat Ma'aon.

An Israeli friend notified police after the poison was discovered. The police responded and took a report. When Bischoff questioned the police about progress of the investigation of the March 23 incident, they indicated they needed "more time."

Members of CPT, OD and the Israeli group Taayush will join Palestinian shepherds a clean-up action Saturday, April 2. Removal of the poison is an arduous and time consuming process, done by hand. This action is a continuation of cleaning efforts begun on March 26.


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