Palestine

Applies to CPTnet releases from Palestine projects

Prayers for Peacemakers June 10, 2014

Prayers for Peacemakers June 10, 2014

Pray for the Abu Haikels and all the families on Tel Rumeida, in Hebron who are losing land to settlement expansion in the form of an archeological dig and facing increased harassment from settlers.

See AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): The Abu Haikel family—a story of resistance.




Arwa (top left) and Faryel Abu Haikal climb onto their land to halt the demolition of their
property from the Israeli Antiquity Authority, hoping to enforce a police order previously
issued.

JERUSALEM: The case of Rachel Corrie

 
 photo Ashraf Amra
 Craig and Cindy Corrie

[Note: This release was adapted for CPTnet from a longer piece on the Palestine team’s blog.  The Christian Peacemaker Team in Hebron provided nonviolence training for Rachel Corrie and Tom Hurndall, another International Solidarity Movement (ISM) activist killed by the Israeli military, when they entered the country along with waves of other ISM activists during the early years of the Second Intifada.]

More than a decade after an Israeli military bulldozer crushed Rachel Corrie to death in Rafah, Gaza, her parents Craig and Cindy Corrie found themselves in the halls of the Supreme Court of Israel on 21 May 2014.  The Corries were appealing a verdict handed down in 2013 by Judge Oded Gershon of the Haifa District Court.

Gershon ruled that Corrie was responsible for her own death by entering Gaza during a time of conflict.  “While not surprising, the verdict is yet another example of impunity prevailing over accountability and fairness and it flies in the face of the fundamental principle of international humanitarian law—that in a time of war, military forces are obligated to take all measures to avoid harm to both civilians and their property,” said Attorney Hussein Abu Hussein, the Corries’ attorney at the Haifa hearing in 2013.

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): CPT Palestine delegation marches in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners.

 On 31 May 2014, members of the CPT Palestine delegation currently in the region joined hundreds of demonstrators at Al Aroub refugee camp to protest the illegal administrative detention of more than 100 political Palestinian political prisoners held without charges by the Israeli government. Although the demonstration remained non-violent, Israeli soldiers fired tear gas, sound bombs, and rubber bullets to disperse the demonstrators.

 The Hebron Defence Committee, a grass roots organization dedicated to resisting nonviolently the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian Territories, helped organize the protest and invited the CPT delegation to attend.  CPT members accepted in order to observe and help document the action and show solidarity with those  imprisoned. 

 Dozens of Palestinian political prisoners are imprisoned without charge in Israeli prisons under archaic British Mandate era administrative detention laws.  These laws prohibit detention for more than six months. However, the Israeli authorities renew the detention orders repeatedly, incarcerating dozens of prisoners for  years without charging them.  Many have been on a hunger strike to protest their detention.

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): The Abu Haikel family—a story of resistance.

 
 Arwa (top left) and Faryel Abu Haikal climb onto their land to halt the demolition of their
property from the Israeli Antiquity Authority, hoping to enforce a police order previously issued.

With only a sliver of their land left to protect, Feryel and Arwa Abu Heikal climbed over a pile of rubble and boulders and stopped the Israeli bulldozer from shearing further into their property, dumping their dignity into the back of a dump truck, and hauling away their rights.  They stood under the unrelenting sun, staring into the teeth of the approaching bucket excavator, protecting their land from the ever-encroaching Israeli settlement enterprise, facing arrest and physical assault—a reality they have faced for decades.  Their resilience and steadfastness held off the Israeli Antiquity Authority (I.A.A.) for a few hours.

The I.A.A. continues to deploy a variety of tactics to annex privately owned Palestinian land on the hilltop of Hebron, including ignoring previous orders issued by the Israeli police to halt work.  Under the directive of Emmanuel Eisenberg, the I.A.A. project coordinator, the excavator bucket began carving deeper into Feryiel Abu Haikel’s land, breaking both Israeli and international law in the process.

In 1984, Jewish settlers first arrived on Tel Rumeida, the historical hilltop neighborhood of Hebron, which, according to some religious texts, is where Abraham first laid claim to land.  This historical interpretation provides impetus for the archeological digs designed to establish exclusive Jewish claims to the hilltop.  The Tel Rumeida settlement stands today on concrete pylons built directly on a previous archeological dig.  The establishment of this settlement marked the genesis of the heightened tensions that would continually boil over and spill onto the Abu Haikel’s land year after year.

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Israeli Antiquities Authority destroys more Abu Haikel Land, despite order to halt work

The Israeli Antiquities Authority’s continued illegal excavations on the Abu Haikel land has led to further destruction of the family’s property.  On Monday 26 May 2014, a bulldozer driver working on the excavation site undermined the foundation of Abu Haikels’ retaining wall—the second time this month the excavators have damaged the wall.

The Abu Haikel family called the Hebron police department, reporting the damage the excavations were doing on their land, but the authorities failed to appear at the scene of the crime.

This destruction is not an isolated incident, but rather represents a prolonged campaign by lead archeologist Emmanuel Eisenberg and the Israeli Antiquities Authority to establish a “biblical museum” on the areas surrounding the Abu Haikel land.

Last week, the Abu Haikel family had reported the previous destruction of private property.  The authorities showed up and issued orders for Eisenberg to halt work until the survey lines clearly demarcating the boundaries of plot 54 and 53 had been drawn, which has not happened yet.

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON) Excavations continue on Abu Haikel Land

 

The Israeli Antiquity Authority (IAA) continues to expropriate Palestinian land in Hebron, on the Tel Rumeida hillside.  On Sunday 18 May 2014, the IAA workforce, under the instruction of project coordinator Emmanuel Eisenberg, continued to cause structural damaged to the Abu Haikel land, deploying questionable and illegal archeological practices, while at the same time utilizing the Al Jobeh family’s land without the family's consent.

The excavations are illegal under Israeli law, according to the Oslo Agreement, which Israel signed in the mid-90s— a process jointly agreed upon by Israel and Palestine as a vehicle to peace and stability.  Article 2 of the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement describes in detail how Israeli and Palestinians would jointly administer archeological projects in Palestinian territory.  The IAA has not abided by this agreement in Tel Rumeida.


Feryel Abu Haikel sits in nonviolent resistance to further expansion of the Israeli archaeological dig onto her land

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Settler archeological excavations continue to expand at Tel Rumeida

 
 The head of the Al Gobeh family looks at  the
title to his property while trying to convince
 the head of the excavation site to stop work
 on his land.

The Israel Antiquities Authority, with the cooperation of the settlement security apparatus, has expanded the excavations around the Abu Haikal, Al Natsheh, and Al Gobeh families lands in the H2 section of Hebron, near the Jewish settlement of Tel Rumeida.

On Sunday 11 May 2014, members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams, the Ecumenical Accompaniers, and the International Solidarity Movement went to be with the Al Gobeh family as they protested the development of the excavations on their land.

Despite an agreement between the Israel Antiquities Authority and the family to halt work until a civil engineer from the Hebron district could come and accurately delineate the property lines, the workers on the dig waited until the family left and began to shift the dirt onto the Al Gobeh family land.

“This is our land,” said Al Gobeh. “We didn’t give permission for this.  We have witnessed what  happened in the past when we let Israelis work on our land.  It turns into a development.”  

“The excavations inside of Hebron are required to be coordinated with the Palestinian Authority under the Oslo Agreement,” said Dr. Ahmed Rjoob of the State of Palestine’s Ministry and Tourism Department.  “ There are several issues with the archeological dig.”

Rjoob argued that the excavations, in addition to being illegal under joint agreements and protocols to which Israel and the PA are both signatories, have in the past been used as instruments for settlement expansion, as in the case of the Tel Rumeida settlement.  The expansion of the archeological digs has quarantined homes and restricted the movements of their inhabitants, in particular the Abu Haikal family.

U.S./PALESTINE/ISRAEL URGENT ACTION: Urge U.S. Reps to attend briefing on Israel’s discrimination against U.S. citizens seeking to enter Palestine


 

 
 

"Entery Denied" stamp from second of
Brenneman's three failed attempts to
enter West Bank in September-October
2013.

Last September and October the Israeli border authorities refused to allow me to join CPT’s work in Palestine.  During my last attempt, the Israeli authorities held me at the border for more than eight hours, questioned me repeatedly, and strip-searched me before denying me entry.  Both my Palestinian heritage and my work with CPT were raised as reasons for my mistreatment and denial.  This underscores the plight of not only other CPTers and international observers doing peace and human rights work in Palestine, but more importantly for other Palestinians in the diaspora trying to visit their homeland.

CPT Palestine has made it a priority to find ways of combating this blatant discrimination.  Today you can help.  Soon after my return to the U.S.A., my home country, I heard the U.S. House and Senate were debating the U.S.- Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2013.  Instead of condemning Israel’s actions and calling on embassies to protect U.S. citizens, this legislation would legalize Israel’s racist immigrations policies that discriminate against Palestinian-Americans and other U.S. citizens.  Section 9 would allow Israel to participate in the US visa waver program (permitting Israelis entry to the US for ninety days without obtaining a visa) without demanding reciprocation, as the US does with every other country.

Grassroots advocacy has stalled this bill, and it will probably be rewritten.  But the debate is not over.  On Wednesday 21 May 2014, a briefing will take place to inform U.S. policy makers of Israel’s discriminatory policies and to urge them not to sign onto the bill.  If you live in the United States, please write or call your members of congress (House and Senate) to attend the briefing.  (Below is a sample e-mail.)

Here is a link that will allow you to send an e-mail automatically:
http://org.salsalabs.com/o/641/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=15657

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Israeli soldiers arrest disabled man, twelve-year-old boy

In separate incidents around the same time (around 11:00 a.m.) on the morning of Tuesday 6 May 2014 the Israeli military made two arrests in Hebron. 

The first was of Eyad Jaabari, a twenty-year-old man with a learning disability from the Jaabari neighbourhood of the city.  Israeli soldiers took this young man first to the police base near the Gutnick centre and then walked with him to the military base by the Ibrahimi Mosque, holding him for thirty minutes from the time CPT heard of his arrest.  When Israeli soldiers brought the young man out of the base and released him, he was clearly bewildered and distraught, and collapsed on the ground and then into the arms of the older male relative who was waiting outside. The reason for the arrest is unknown. 

AT-TUWANI: Still in need of water

It’s four and a half years since I last worked in the South Hebron Hills village of at-Tuwani, so I was glad to go for an overnight stay.  There have been many changes since my last stint there with Christian Peacemaker Teams.  Of course, babies have been born, children have grown up, young people have married, and adults have aged.




At-Tuwani's school now has an
additional floor.

There have been some positive changes for the village.  It received a master plan some years ago from the Israeli authorities and so villagers are able to build and extend homes within the boundaries it specifies.  The school now has an additional floor and is safe from demolition (with which the Israeli authorities threatened it as soon as it was first built), so now the village school is able to take pupils from the beginning of primary school right through to the end of secondary school.  The village’s clinic is also safe from demolition.  There is mains electricity [an electrical grid] that the villagers attribute partly to Tony Blair’s visit to Tuwani in 2009, during which he described electricity as a human right, and the villagers have received permission to connect to the water main as well.

As one young man said to me, ‘Tuwani is a city now, Miriam: electricity, water . . .’