Ma’oun Colonists Attack School Students and Farmers in At Tawani – Yatta

Ma’oun Colonists Attack School Students and Farmers in At Tawani – Yatta
At Tawani is one of the Palestinian villages totally surrounded by Israeli colonies; Ma’oun and Avi Haiel colonies beside by-pass road ‘60’ edge the village from all sides. The locals have been suffering from colonists aggressions on daily basis. The colonists attacks have been taking different forms while being protected by the Israeli Occupation Army.

Aggressions against farmers:
Juma Rib’I (40), stated that the colonists have been attacking and obstructing farmers throughout the current season, he said: “while we were going to plow our fields in Al Ballouta area, colonists attacked us and surrounded us. One of them laid before the tractor to prevent it from moving and doing its job. When the foreign consolidators tried to protect us from the aggression, Israeli troops showed up, confiscating the foreigners cameras and preventing them from documenting the attack. Soon afterwards, an Israeli Army officer announced the area as a military zone and that the farmers should evacuate it immediately”.
Picture 1-2: one side of Al Ballouta
‘we left our land and went home; soon afterwards; Israeli forces showed up on our door steps. They informed me that I ought not be back to my land and that if they allow working in the land they will allow certain people only. However, I must not work in my land”.
Al Ballouta valley area and the opposite valley are owned by Rib’I family and is used for agriculture (olive and various trees) and herding. Recently, a colonists fired some rounds toward Hani Rib’i herd, while grazing in Al Ballouta, killing a sheep and a dog.
Chasing school students:
Al Touba is located 3 km to the east of At Tawani; they are separated by the Israeli colony of Ma’oun. Students going to At Tawani school from Al Touba used to cross a rough unpaved road which was fenced by the colonist. An agreement was made with the Israeli District Coordination Office stating that the student should wait before the fence for an Israeli Army patrol to escort them to the gate leading to At Tawani. And that an Army escort should protect them while going back as well. However, this did not stop the colonists aggressions against them.
Picture 3: At Tawani school
‘Ali Zain (13), a 7th grade student described one of the attacks, he stated:” we waited for the Army escort for more than an hour but it never came. My colleagues(16 students) and I decided to take a 12-km-long path that goes around the colony. When we got nearby the colony, four colonists covering their faces with scarves chased us and stoned us. We ran and hid in a house located on the edges of At Tawani before running back home”.
Zain pointed out that it is not the first time they suffer such aggressions and that the escort is usually late which forces them to take an alternative but much longer path. He also stated that 7 of the village students are girls including 1st graders saying that they cannot escape the attacks. He said that the attackers are in their twenties. He tried to explain the suffering during the hot summer days and  the cold winter and that they, most of the times, miss the first class because of the escort’s stalling.
Picture 4-5: Israeli soldiers detaining some of At Tawani students

Categories: Settlers Attacks