AT-TUWANI: CPT-Palestine closes At-Tuwani project
21-10-2011 07:14 PM
21 October 2011
*AT-TUWANI: CPT-Palestine closes At-Tuwani project*
In 2004, the village of At-Tuwani and its Israeli partner, Ta'ayush,
approached CPT's Hebron team and the Italian peace group, Operation Dove,
asking if they could provide accompaniment for the children of the village,
whom settlers regularly attacked as they walked to and from school.
Although CPT had made regular visits to the South Hebron Hills villages over
the years, the team on the ground and the organization as a whole deemed it
important to respond to the villagers' request for a permanent presence in
Seven years later, CPT-Palestine is closing its At-Tuwani project, because
the growth of the South Hebron Hills nonviolent organizing work has made the
presence of CPT less critical. The shepherds of At-Tuwani and surrounding
villages now are part of a large nonviolent resistance network encompassing
various regions of Palestine. They belong to the Popular Struggle
Coordination Committee, and South Hebron Hills leaders regularly plan
nonviolent actions to which they invite Israeli and international groups.
They also offer nonviolence trainings to men and women in the region.
The village has grown significantly since 2004, when all its homes were
under threat of demolition. Defying these threats, At-Tuwani has
constructed ten new homes, a health and community centre, electrical
infrastructure, a paved road through the village, a new cistern, and a
mosque. It has a woman's co-op that sells traditional crafts to groups that
come to the village, which helps to support families and the new
infrastructure. The village has also received grants from various agencies,
one of which it has recently used to buy several computers to provide IT
training for village youth.
The end of CPT's permanent presence in At-Tuwani does not mean the end of
its relationship with the South Hebron Hills villagers. CPT-Palestine will
continue to support them by promoting media and public awareness of the area,
participating in actions organized by the nonviolent Popular Struggle
committee and bringing CPT delegations to the South Hebron Hills.
Because of the villagers' stalwart nonviolent resistance, they now have
relationships with hundreds of Israelis, Palestinians, and internationals who
support their efforts. Two international groups will continue to have a
physical presence in the area. The Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in
Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) now has an office in Yatta, the urban hub of the
South Hebron Hills, and Operation Dove will continue to live in the village
AT-Tuwani team member Laura Ciaghi writes, "I think we have done a good job
of empowering the community in doing nonviolent resistance, mostly by
creating a safer space for people in Tuwani and lifting some of the heavy
pressure of living under occupation, so that they had the time, the energy
and the space to organize themselves.
“The olive tree we planted in our courtyard on Christmas 2005 this fall has
yielded for the first time, a full bucket of big olives, and maybe this tells
the story better than anything else."
CPT's MISSION: What would happen if Christians devoted the same discipline
and sacrifice to nonviolent peacemaking that armies devote to war? Christian
Peacemaker Teams (CPT) seeks to enlist the whole church in organized,
nonviolent alternatives to war and places teams of trained peacemakers in
regions of lethal conflict.
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