On June 27th, Israeli soldiers detained a Palestinian shepherd from the South Hebron Hills village of Saddith Thala. He was accused of throwing stones towards a setter’s car, passing on the Bypass road 317. He was released, as there was no evidence to support the charges.
A Palestinian shepherd and a group of children were drawing water from a Palestinian owned well nearby the illegal settlement of Carmel. While they were crossing the bypass road 317, settlers saw them and immediately called the Israeli soldiers. When the army arrived, they stopped and detained the only adult in the group of shepherds, and accused him of throwing stones in the direction of the road. At about 2pm, when Palestinians from the South Hebron Hills Popular Resistance Committee and international volunteers arrived, the shepherd was handcuffed by a plastic band and had been waiting an hour in the sun for the police to arrive.
After asking for explanations from the soldiers, a Palestinian member of the Popular Struggle Committee released the hands of the shepherd, cutting the handcuffs to allow him to pray. Palestinians and internationals reiterated to the soldiers their duty to show evidence and to consider the shepherd’s declaration of innocence and not only the settlers’ unfounded accusations. At 3pm the detained Palestinian was release and free to go back home.
The well from which the children were drawing water, lies between the illegal settlement of Carmel and Ma’on, This an area where the Palestinian population are constantly subjected to harassment, acts which prevent them from accessing their own land.
The coordinator of the Committee said: “The South Hebron Hills Popular Struggle Committee watches all violations of the human rights in the area, and we respond with non-violent direct actions.”
Operation Dove has maintained an international presence in At-Tuwani and the South Hebron Hills since 2004.