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PHOTOS: Settlers march through Palestinian village

On Friday morning, a group of Israeli settlers entered the West Bank Palestinian village of At-Tuwani in the South Hebron Hills. The settlers, who were escorted by the Israeli military, marched through the village in what seemed to be an attempt to intimidate and provoke Palestinian residents. Several of the settlers were armed

Armed settler in At-Tuwani on Friday (photo: Operation Dove)

According to Operation Dove, several Israeli military vehicles parked outside of At-Tuwani’s entrance around 10:30 am. Dozens of settlers from the illegal settlement of Havat Maon arrived on foot around noon. They entered the village soon after and were escorted by the Israeli army. Settlers trampled on a resident’s agricultural field and an olive tree was reportedly damaged during the march.

Settlers entering At-Tuwani on Friday (photo: Operation Dove)

Operation Dove adds that since January 29, Israeli settlers have damaged or cut down 17 Palestinian-owned olive trees in the area.

As settlers marched through At-Tuwani on Friday, they verbally harassed villagers. Witnesses report that the residents of At-Tuwani stayed calm, despite the fact that there is a real fear of settler violence based on past experiences with settlers from Havat Maon, who have attacked and injured residents of At-Tuwani and international escorts as they made their way from the village to school.

Settlers with military escort in At-Tuwani (photo: Operation Dove)

Settlers and soldiers made their way through the village, stopping at a site that some Israeli archaeologists claim to be an ancient synagogue. Some of the settlers began to pray while others, Operation Dove says, “provoked the Palestinians.”

Settlers and soldiers making way through At-Tuwani villagers (photo: Operation Dove)

At-Tuwani is located in Israeli-controlled Area C. The village predates the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the neighboring settlements. Because Palestinian residents face violence from settlers, the Israeli army is supposed to escort the area’s children to school. But it is often remiss in this duty.

As the occupying power, Israel is responsible for ensuring that all residents’ basic needs are met. While At-Tuwani has had electricity and running water for approxinately a year now, most of the surrounding Palestinian villages remain without it.


Now, I must point out the obvious: imagine what would happen if Palestinians, armed or not, tried to march into a settlement. Palestinians are barely allowed to march through their own villages. And they certainly don’t get any protection from the military when they do so.

Friday’s events are yet another example of Israel’s discriminatory policies that give privilege to Jews at the expense of non-Jews.

While the Israeli government might occasionally pretend that it doesn’t have control over the settlers, the military escort provided to the settlers who marched in At-Tuwani on Friday reminds that it is the state and the army that facilitate the settlers’ out-of-control behavior.

A version of this post first appeared on the website of the Alternative Information Center.

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    1. Lauren

      This is what happens when the government sponsors terrorism and the world pretend not to see. We will hear in a few months about house demolitions, fires and ethnic cleansing. Of course it will be blamed on the Pals.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Carole

      This is absolutely sickening. The resolve of the people at At’Tuwani to adhere to nonviolence to overcome this occupation is inspirational.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Jan

      My stomach turns when I see these vile and arrogant settlers. If this is what Israeli Jews have become then it is time to stop supporting the racist state.

      Reply to Comment
    4. The alleged archeological site is being oppressed, denied inclusion in corporate Israel. They come to show their support for this past, that it be reunited with all Israel. Or so I conjecture the logic.
      Because I can do absolutely nothing to stop this, and because I am a far sideliner, all I think I can do is try and understand their thought process. I certainly don’t agree with it, but perhaps understanding (and I make no claim here to have succeeded) might be useful later.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Michael

      Wonderful photos. Very smug, righteous air to the bunch. More like an invasive species than a returning settled species. Legal obfuscation for ethical justification – see The Law in These Parts. Historical reference to ancient synagogue…so what. (“Property [abides] in its status” [B. B. ix. 8-9; see Burden of Proof]). In the absence of evidence either way, property remains with the owner in possession, and his heirs.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Steve

      The settlers walked around?

      Is that bad?

      The photos look like a bunch of people stood around and went for a walk…

      Reply to Comment
    7. Steve,
      From the piece:
      “Now, I must point out the obvious: imagine what would happen if Palestinians, armed or not, tried to march into a settlement. Palestinians are barely allowed to march through their own villages. And they certainly don’t get any protection from the military when they do so.”
      Perhaps the author was remiss in claiming the point obvious.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Steve

      Well, when Palestinians used to march into Israeli/Jewish areas, Israeli Jews were being blown up in buses, restaurants, etc.

      What happened here? A group of Israelis WALKED AROUND. The photos don’t show anyone “storming” or “marching” or doing anything violent.

      So, uhhh… so what?

      Reply to Comment
    9. Steve

      Michael: You look at the Jewish people in those photos, who are literally just WALKING, and not actually doing anything, and you see them as an “invasive species” instead of just some people?


      Reply to Comment
    10. Passerby

      I find this article to be incredible and offensive.

      So there’s an ancient synagogue here (I have no idea how you could couch this fact with “some Israeli archaeologists claim” – which archaeologists dissent and why? Is this like Temple denial?) which the local Jews would like to visit. They know it would be unsafe to do it without protection, so the IDF accompanies them. They walk through the village peacefully, probably cause no damage at all, despite the olive tree damage libel, and go to this ancient site. Then leave.

      From this, you turn the story into some nefarious activity where even the electricity and water the village enjoy thanks to Israel, are some sort of wickedness.

      Here’s an alternative version:
      “A group of visitors from nearby settlement peacefully visit archaeological site of ancient synagogue, at one point mingling with some of the local villagers. The village, al-Tuwani, has recently come to enjoy its connection to the electrical and water grids thanks to the Israeli government. A local NGO claimed that an olive tree had been damaged during the visit, but subsequently it was reported that their writer simply didn’t know what else to put on his otherwise blank page.”

      Reply to Comment
    11. mya guarnieri

      Passerby: For that type of pro-settler propaganda, see Arutz 7.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Passerby

      I was just reporting what I saw in the photos you posted and elaborating on the likely nature of the archaeological site and your reporting of the village’s infrastructure.

      Let’s do an experiment. Why don’t you look at your photos and compare my paragraph to your article and tell me which is more descriptive?

      Also, here is a report on something that is far more common than acknowledged. Israel has been trying to get WB Palestinians to come into the water and sewage grids with little luck. It has also tried convincing the PA to allow construction of water reclamation and water desalinization plants (which would be funded with foreign and Israeli money) but have been rebuffed for years. I think that’s important to note when the claim is made that the villages around this one don’t have running water or hookups to the electricity grids.


      Reply to Comment
    13. Steve

      “an olive tree was reportedly damaged during the march.”


      Reply to Comment
    14. simons

      bit of a crap article – comments from the army, residents and people on the march?

      Reply to Comment