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Tuwani: Poison Pellets Kill More Sheep


Tuwani: Poison Pellets Kill More Sheep, Poison Analyzed: Highly Toxic to Humans, Sheep and Land, Palestinians Consider Quarantine, Israelis Will Join Palestinians to Remove Poison

By Luna Villota

Tuwani, South Hebron Hills – As of March 31, the total number of dead sheep has climbed to four and twenty five other sheep are very sick with symptoms of poisoning since Palestinian shepherds discovered poison on March 23 in Tuwani and outlying areas adjacent to the illegal Israeli settlement outpost of Havot Ma'on. Bir Zeit has completed its analysis of the poison, named Sluoloacdamide, and has found it to be highly toxic and very soluble; if inhaled or touched it can be harmful to humans, in addition, it can damage the land if dissolved by rain. A quarantine of the sheep is being considered. Israelis will join Palestinians again this Saturday, April 2, to help remove the poison, grain by grain.

On March 30, members of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) and Operation Dove (OD) accompanied shepherds and approximately 500 sheep when shepherds discovered more poison in this area, but not before the sheep had already been grazing there. It is unclear when the poison was deposited. Police were called and took a report.

Bir Zeit University's analysis of the poison reveals that the poison is highly toxic, requiring only 50 miligrams to kill a single sheep. Therefore, only two or three of the tiny green pellets are needed for a deadly dose. Thousands of the poison pellets have been spread over the hillsides near the Havat Ma'aon outpost.

Israelis from the group Taayush, working for an end to the occupation of Palestine, will join Palestinian shepherds, members of CPT and OD on Saturday, April 2 to help remove the poison from the land. Removal of the poison is an arduous and very time consuming process, done by hand in the hot sun. This action is a continuation of cleaning efforts begun on March 26.

When CPT member Christy Bischoff questioned the police about the investigation the police indicated they needed "more time." As more sheep continue to die, become sick, and more poison is discovered, CPT supports the villagers demand for a speedy and thorough investigation to bring the perpetrators to justice. Not only sheep have been lost due to this attack. To date, gazelles, squirrels, snakes, and storks have also died. Meanwhile, the National Park Service dismissed reports of a dead stork on Monday, March 28.

Shepherds and villagers have experienced a pattern of beatings and harassment at the hands of Havat Ma'on and Ma'on settlers for many years. In the last two months alone shepherds have reported at least twenty incidents of settler violence. Palestinian shepherds, CPT members Christy Bischoff (Asheville, NC) and Lorne Friesen (Winkler, Manitoba) and OD members are available for interviews.

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