Settlers Destroy Palestinian Water Tanks as Soldiers Look On

16 April 2009

hebron-04_15_0914 April, 2009 Hebron. A little after 4pm, four or five masked settlers youth climbed onto the roof of the Awaywi family home and punctured six large metal water tanks in open sight of a manned Israeli military tower.

Basma Awaywi, the mother of the family, was on the outside passage way of the house when she saw the masked settlers on the roof, she was frightened and went into the house.

About than 15 meters from the roof of the house is an Israeli military tower staffed with soldiers that have a clear view of the roof. Several other Israeli military watchtowers also have full view of the Awaywi family roof top.

Two international tourists were in a shop below when the attack happened.

“We heard this crash and went out of the shop, said one of the internationals. “Plastic chairs were lying in the walk way. Above there was noise and another crash. We asked what was happening. One of the shop keepers said that the settlers were trying to knock over the water tanks.”

“I went up the stairs to the roof, water was just beginning to pour down the stairs. Flower pots lay broken on the steps along with glass shards. Dirt from the flower pots was turning to mud. When I got on the roof, I saw soldiers on the ground and yelled ‘why did this happen’ at them. I looked over and there were three soldiers in a nearby tower doing nothing. At settler youth was among them.”

“Two soldiers came onto the Awanyi’s roof and directed Mr. Awayni to come to them. They took his ID. They talked with him for awhile and then left.”

“These tanks must be expensive, who is going to pay for them? I want my government, which supports Israel, to know about this crime,” said one of the internationals.

Shop keepers called the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and the Temporary International Presence in Hebron. Between 4:45 – 5pm, representatives from the ISM arrived.

Mrs. Awaywi said that two months ago the settlers had destroyed the water tanks and kicked over the family’s bird cages on the roof, breaking the eggs.

On December 7 of last year, the family home was set fire by rampaging illegal Jewish-Israeli settlers in Hebron.

The Awaywi family has lived in the home for generations. Their rooftop is connected to the adjacent building that is illegally occupied by Jewish Israel settlers.

“The settlers are always attacking us,” said Awayni, who said she lives in constant fear for her children. “One time they appeared and threatened to kill my husband and then the children. We hid in the house with the door closed until they went away.”