Peace Now protests settler violence

Group barred from reaching Arab village near Maon until Peretz intervened.

May 12, 2006 13:47
peace now 88

peace now 88. (photo credit: )

Two buses carrying Peace Now activists on their way to the West Bank village Atuwani in the southern Hebron Hills were blocked from reaching their destination on Friday by security forces including IDF and police. The group, including approximately 100 members of Peace Now and other supporters, such as MK Ran Cohen (Meretz), were held up at Gush Etzion Junction for about one hour. Only after Cohen called Defense Minister Amir Peretz were the activists permitted to continue to the village, located adjacent to the settlement of Maon. They claimed that the IDF had previously cleared their arrival. Yet, the area was then declared a closed military zone. Peace Now Chairman Yariv Oppenheimer told The Jerusalem Post that the group traveled to Atuwani in order to protests recent incidents in which local settlers harassed the Arab population in the area. One of these incidents occurred last week when Maon settlers threw rocks and blocks and even unleashed a dog at a group of Arab schoolchildren being accompanied home by IDF soldiers. Four soldiers and two Palestinians were wounded in the attacks. The IDF said that they were ambushed by the settlers, who fled only when the soldiers fired their weapons in the air.

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