Building partnerships to transform violence and oppression.

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Israeli military and settlers close down Old City of Hebron to Palestinians

An Israeli settler screams at young Palestinians in the court yard of
the Old City of Hebron.

Every Saturday a group of Israeli settlers and Jewish tourists, escorted by dozens of Israeli soldiers, parade through the Old City on a tour, in which they hear an exclusive rightwing Jewish narrative of the city's history.  Last Saturday, however, was a holiday commemorating Abraham’s purchase of land in Hebron to bury his wife Sarah, so an unusually large number of Israeli settlers, Jewish tourists (many from New York), and Israeli border police and soldiers were present.  For nearly three hours, hundreds of Israeli settlers and occupying forces overtook the Old City, restricting Palestinians' freedom of movement and causing shops to close early. 

While a normal Saturday tour means restriction of Palestinian movement and disruption of the lives of those living and working in the Old City, last Saturday’s holiday tour created greater disruptions.  The Ibrahimi Mosque was closed, which meant that not only could Muslims not pray there, but that the checkpoint leading to it was closed.  When the checkpoint is closed, Palestinians have to take much more circuitous (and hilly) routes from one side of the mosque to the other, adding time and difficulty to daily tasks.

The settlers and tourists, many of whom were young men, danced, jumped, and chanted Israeli nationalistic slogans as they slowly made their way through the Old City, blocking passage for residents and creating noise that interfered with any sense of normalcy.

As CPTers and representatives from other NGOs stood along the route, settlers and tourists questioned them, sometimes aggressively, about their presence and work and accused them of anti-semitism.  One tourist threatened to hit a CPTer; another asked a CPTer to take a picture and then threatened to break the camera (which he'd already tried to handle as he passed by).  A number of tourists said to observers, "Welcome to Israel," though no country in the world recognizes the Palestinian Occupied Territories as part of the nation of Israel.

Upcoming CPT Events

Title Start: End:
Palestine/Israel Delegation Sat, 11/29/2014 Sun, 12/14/2014
CPT European Convergence 2015 Tue, 05/12/2015 Sun, 05/17/2015

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About CPT

Partnering with nonviolent movements around the world, CPT seeks to embody an inclusive, ecumenical and diverse community of God's love.  We believe we can transform war and occupation, our own lives, and the wider Christian world through:

  • the nonviolent power of God's truth
  • partnership with local peacemakers
  • bold action

CPT places teams at the invitation of local peacemaking communities that are confronting situations of lethal conflict.  These teams seek to follow God's Spirit as it works through local peacemakers who risk injury and death by waging nonviolent direct action to confront systems of violence and oppression. 

CPT understands violence to be rooted in systemic structures of oppression. We are committed to undoing oppressions, starting within our own lives and in the practices of our organization.

Featured CPT Partner

Kani Spi (“White Spring”) village sits next to a mine field on the Iraq/Iran border. Villagers live every day in a death trap, caught between the beauty of nature and the military violence of past and current governments.

Mr. Mahmud has been fighting to restore the beautiful countryside for decades by removing the mines, at a steep price: the loss of one brother, one son, and his leg. Now Turkey and Iran are conducting heavy bombardments in the region, forcing people to move and abandon their way of life.

The United States shares intelligence with Turkey to help Turkey and Iran combat Kurdish political groups. But often those attacks are on civilian villages. Mr. Mahmud wants the three countries to stop their military actions so he can clear the landmines from the field.

CPT’s Work: CPT accompanies villages like Kani Spi, documenting their experience, and advocating with decision-makers for a cease to state-sponsored violence and bombing.