[Note: According to the Geneva Conventions, the International Court of Justice in the Hague, and numerous United Nations resolutions, all Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) are illegal. Most settlement outposts are considered illegal under Israeli law.]
At-Tuwani, Palestine On Monday, 25 May 2009, members of the Israeli District Coordinating Office (DCO)—the branch of the Israeli army that administers civilian affairs in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT)—entered the Palestinian village of At-Tuwani and ordered villagers to halt construction work on new electricity pylons.
Currently At-Tuwani receives only four hours of electricity a day, supplied by a diesel generator operated and paid for by the villagers. The Israeli settlement and outposts of Ma’on, Havat Ma’on, and Avigail, located within two kilometers of At-Tuwani, receive electricity from the main Israeli power grid.
International Humanitarian law (1907 Hague Regulation and 1949 Fourth Geneva Conventions) obliges occupying powers to ensure the welfare of the occupied population. Israel is thus responsible for the general welfare of the occupied Palestinian civilian population. However, it fails to supply electricity and water to Palestinian towns and villages, even though it is providing these services to settlements and outposts in the same vicinities. In this most recent move, the Israeli military is denying the villagers of At-Tuwani the opportunity to improve their living conditions.
After the DCO’s orders, the chair of the At-Tuwani village council told At-Tuwani team members, “It is 2009. And still we do not have electricity.”
On 19 March 2009, Tony Blair, special mid-east envoy of the Quartet, visited At-Tuwani. (See 20 March 2009 CPTnet release, “AT-TUWANI: At-Tuwani hosts former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair to address Israeli occupation and violence in the southern West Bank.”) He supported the villagers’ desire to improve their living conditions, saying, "… without a new and different system applying in [the area in the West Bank under Israeli military and civilian control, … 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." When asked what he could do to address the hardships inflicted on residents of the South Hebron Hills by settlers and the army in the region, he said, "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." The Palestine National Authority and Tony Blair assured villagers at the time of the visit that the DCO had given oral permission for the electricity construction work. The work on the new pylons, to connect At-Tuwani to the main Palestinian electricity grid, began earlier this month.
Please contact The DCO and demand that they grant permission for the village to receive basic services
• from Europe 00 972 29977097
• from North America 011 972 29977097 (for other world areas please check relevant country code +972 29977097)
Please send copies of your correspondence to Tony Blair:
The Office of Tony Blair
P.O. Box 60519, London,
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.