About this Blog
"Ordinary People" is something of an intentional misnomer. I live and work with Palestinians practicing nonviolent resistance to the Israeli occupation. They are doing things that are hardly "ordinary": committing themselves to active nonviolence and to loving their enemies -- following the commands of One who was anything but ordinary. And yet, the Palestinians with whom I work are also very ordinary -- they are not some kind of spiritual superheroes/superheroines who do things most folks can't do. They are simply ordinary people daily committing themselves to living a higher calling -- a calling of love and active nonviolence.
Friday, March 20, 2009
AT-TUWANI RELEASE: At-Tuwani hosts Tony Blair to address Israeli occupation and violence in the southern West Bank
Tony Blair, representative of the Quartet on the Middle East, speaks with Saber Hereni, the mayor of At-Tuwani
19 March 2009
Photos available at http://cpt.org/gallery/album275
At-Tuwani, West Bank
On 19 March 2009, Tony Blair, representative of the Quartet on the Middle East, visited the Palestinian village of At-Tuwani, located in the southern West Bank. His reason for visiting, he stated, “is really to draw attention to the fact that without a new and different system applying in Area C [the area in the West Bank under Israeli military and civilian control], then it is very hard for Palestinians to enjoy the standard of living that they should enjoy and be able to develop their land as they should be able to develop in freedom.”
Mr. Blair met with the mayor of At-Tuwani as well as members of Christian Peacemaker Teams and Operation Dove, who described the attacks and harassment Palestinians experience from Israeli settlers and soldiers when Palestinians attempt to access their land. The conversation also highlighted Israeli government inaction toward settler aggression, exemplified by the government’s failure to follow through with the demolition orders on the illegal Israeli outpost of Havat Ma’on. When asked what he will do about this situation, Mr. Blair answered, “It’s got to be stopped, hasn’t it? This is what should happen. But it needs to be done in a systematic way so that the whole way this area is looked at and administered is changed to make it fair.”
Under the Oslo Accords, the village of At-Tuwani is in Area C, leaving it under Israeli military and civilian control. Israeli authorities have refused to provide electricity and running water to the village, despite the fact that the Israeli settlement of Ma’on, less than a kilometer away, has access to these utilities. In addition, the Israeli government refuses to grant building permission to Palestinians in At-Tuwani and surrounding villages.. Consequently Palestinians frequently face the threat of demolition on their houses, mosques, schools, clinics and wells. In contrast, Ma’on and Havat Ma’on and other settlements and outposts in the area continue to expand outside of regulations.
Over recent years, At-Tuwani has received increased media attention due to the people’s commitment to nonviolent resistance. Palestinians in the area have had success using nonviolence to reclaim their land and freedom of movement and to highlight the violence they experience under the Israeli occupation.
Background information is available on Christian Peacemaker Teams' website, http://www.cpt.org/work/palestine/tuwani