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From the field

Settlers scattered poison in pasture fields, killing sheep and deer, Khirbet  a-Tawaneh, the Southern Hebron Hills, March 2005

Mfaddi Rab'i, farmer

Mfaddi Rab'i

I live in the village a-Tawaneh, which is next to the Ma'on settlement. I am a farmer and have twenty head of sheep. I graze them every day, and they are the main source of my family's income.

Two days ago [Tuesday, 22 March 2005], around 9:30 A.M., I was grazing my flock in the area of the cave west of the village, about fifty meters from the fields surrounding the settlement. My nephew, Ayman Khalil Rab'i, 13, was with me. He noticed green kernels of wheat scattered under thorns. He called me over and asked me what it was. I looked at it and began to look for other kernels. They were scattered all over the area under thorns. I suspected that it might be poison. I assumed that somebody had scattered the kernels to harm the flock. Also in the area were my cousins, Jum'a Musa Jabarin Rab'i, Na'im al-'‘Adreh, Mahmoud Hamamdeh, and Yasser Hamamdeh, who were from Al-Mufaqara. They are shepherds. I told them what I had found, and they began to look for the green kernels of wheat. When we found kernels, we called out and told the others.

Sheep poisoned by settlers in the village of a-Tawaneh in South Mount Hebron. Photo: Christian Peacemaker Teams, Hebron/a-Tawaneh, 29 March 2005.



by settlers in the village of a-Tawaneh in South Mount Hebron. Photo: Christian Peacemaker Teams, Hebron/a-Tawaneh, 29 March 2005.

We decided to remove our sheep from the area immediately. I took my sheep to an area some 300 meters away. I thought there wasn't any poison there. I left my flock there and joined the others in looking for more of the wheat, and to clean the grazing area. We collected more than five kilograms of kernels. In the evening, I went home and noticed something unusual. The sheep had trouble breathing. When we noticed that, Jum'a called the organization Taayush for help, and to the Israeli police. Jum'a said that the police officers recommended giving the animals milk and olive oil to drink. I did as they suggested, and cared for them all through the night. In the middle of the night, one of the sheep died. A green substance came out of its mouth, and I was sure that the green wheat was poison and that the settlers had put it there.

I was told earlier today that one of the goats of '‘Ali Hamamdeh, from al-Mufaqara, had died, and that they found a dead deer. I know about ten of Mahmoud Hamamdeh's flock are suffering from the poisoning, as are two of Yasser's flock and two of Jum'a's.

People from the Nature Preservation Society, Israeli army soldiers, officials from CPT and Operation Dove, and some farmers and shepherds came to the area. We cleared away the poison. We also found other areas where poison had been scattered. The people from the Nature Preservation Society took samples of the poison and of dead deer for testing.

Mfaddi Ahmad Jibril Rab'I, 35, is a father of nine, a farmer and a resident a-Tawaneh village in South Mount Hebron. His testimony was taken by Musa Abu Hashhash in his cave in a-Tawaneh, on 24 March 2005