CPT: Israeli military again blocks main access road in South Hebron Hills

9 June 2008

From the Christian Peacemaker Teams-Tuwani

At 11am on 5 June, 2008, the Israeli military again blocked the road between At-Tuwani and Yatta. A bulldozer massed a six-foot-high mound spanning the width of the road using concrete slabs, boulders and earth. Several villages in the South Hebron Hills are again cut off from basic supplies such as water, firewood and animal feed, as this road provides the primary vehicle access to Yatta, which serves as the region’s economic hub, with critical services such as hospitals and secondary schools.

The new roadblock greatly expands a pile of roadblock placed by the Israeli army on 28 May. It is the largest in a series of obstructions erected through the past three months. Unlike previous roadblocks, the new blockage not only prevents vehicle access, but also traffic by foot and donkey. [Recently closures and rising fuel prices have forced more and more Palestinians to use donkeys for travel throughout the Palestinian territories].

The road between At-Tuwani and Yatta is the main artery for the supply of water to the South Hebron Hills, which is currently experiencing a severe drought. According to Palestinian residents of the area, roadblocks have doubled the commercial price of water. A UN worker reported that this roadblock will increase by 30 percent the cost of transporting essential water aid to the area.