Applies to CPTnet releases from Palestine projects

SOUTH HEBRON HILLS: Israeli military detains driver, confiscates vehicle donated for transport of schoolchildren in South Hebron Hills

On 18 November 2013 at 11:00, Mufid Abu Qbeita—the driver for the students who live in the South Hebron Hills area that the Israeli military has designated as “Firing Zone 918”—was driving children back to their homes from Al Fakheit school.  Israeli Security Forces and representatives of the Israeli Civil Administration stopped him near Al-Sfai, one of the villages in the Firing Zone, while he had a child in the car.

Soldiers took his ID and detained him for thirty minutes; afterwards, they told him to follow them to Gush Etzion Police Station.  Two soldiers accompanied Abu Qbeita in the car.  He had to leave the child in Al-Sfai.

Abu Qbeita informed the soldiers that the jeep belonged to the Palestinian Ministry of Education and was donated by Japan, but they still forced him to drive to the settlement of Gush Etzion.  After several hours, they released him, but the jeep remains at the police station.  When Abu Qbeita asked why the soldiers had confiscated the jeep, they answered, “Because you were driving in the firing zone of the South Hebron Hills which is not allowed.”

CPT, EAPPI and Operation Dove take turns accompanying Abu Qbeita and the SUV from the city of Yatta into the Firing Zone during the week, in order to prevent incidents like the above occurring, but until recently, once in the zone, he had not faced problems.  On 27 October, eight Israeli soldiers detained him, verbally abused him, and then beat him on his abdomen, face, and back.  Afterwards, they forced him to drive over spikes used to stop vehicles at army checkpoints to puncture the SUV’s tires.

SOUTH HEBRON HILLS: CPT releases new video, "Masafer Yatta Under Israeli Occupation"

 Christian Peacemaker Teams’ Palestine team has just released a new video about the Masafer Yatta area, featuring the Al-Fakheit School, an “archway to the future.”

Although the twelve-minute production presents the realities that the people living in the region face—their homes under constant threat of home demolition, Israeli military exercises disrupting their lives—the film is surprisingly uplifting, filled with faces of the children and adults who live in the scattered villages around the school, and whose lives the school has greatly enhanced.

Before Al-Fakheit school was built in the area the Israeli military calls “Firing Zone 918,” the children of the region had to live in Yatta during the school year or did not attend school at all.  For many students, school is their primary leisure time of the day.  They also receive services from the Palestinian Authority such as psychological counseling to deal with traumas they face as a result of living within the Firing Zone…

The video is available at


#GIVINGTUESDAY Since the release of this video, the Israeli military has confiscated the vehicle used for transporting the children to Al-Fakheit school.  CPT Palestine, EAPPI and Operation Dove do not have enough volunteers to provide the accompaniment really needed to protect the driver and the vehicle.  CPT Palestine has a 3-year plan that would vastly expand the nonviolent training reach of the team and the incorporation of Palestinians into the Palestine team.  In an atmosphere where very few good ideas are being presented for peace in the region, are you willing to support something creative and a little bit risky?




A couple weeks ago, my teammate Alwyn and I were sidetracked by phone call on our way to the market to buy food. Two international monitoring groups in Hebron had contacted our office, asking us to check out a situation at the container checkpoint that separates the H-1 area (under nominal Palestinian control) from H-2 (under full Israeli military control) in Hebron.  Soldiers had stopped a staffperson from a kindergarten near Qurtuba School who was bringing in a box of snacks for the children, which apparently the soldiers running the checkpoint deemed a security risk.

The staff person had been there an hour by the time we got there and would be there for more than another before the soldiers finally let him go.  In the meantime, Alwyn and I became involved in another small human drama.  A young man with Down's Syndrome came through the checkpoint.  Perhaps because he made the soldiers uncomfortable, something compelled them to make him take his belt off, pull up his shirt, take off his shoes, and pull up his pants legs.  They also went through the newspaper he was carrying page by page to see if it concealed anything.

He continued up the hill afterwards, belt in hand, cursing.  He would try to put the belt through the loops of his pants, then start re-enacting the scene of his humiliation again and again, yelling and shaking his fist.  Alwyn and I joined him and tried to calm him down.  An older man came by to help him with his belt, and through him, we learned the young man’s name, Abed*, and that his father had died recently.


SOUTH HEBRON HILLS: Despite court order, Israeli military intimidates villagers in Firing Zone 918

31 October 2013
SOUTH HEBRON HILLS: Despite court order, Israeli military intimidates villagers in Firing Zone 918

[Note: The following is an update from CPT Palestine’s partner, the Italian peace group Operation Dove that lives and works in the South Hebron Hills village of At-Tuwani, where CPT also worked from 2004-2011.  Christian Peacemaker Teams, Operation Dove, and EAPPI share responsibility for accompanying a vehicle intended for the transport of school children into an area of the South Hebron Hills the Israeli military has designated as “Firing Zone 918.”  The Operation Dove report has been edited for clarity.]

In spite of the Israeli Defense Minister’s acceptance of the mediation proposal by the Israeli High Court to find a solution with the Palestinians [in the region] about the Israeli military’s use of Firing Zone 918, the pressure of the army on the local inhabitants does not decrease.

According to eyewitnesses, on Sunday, 20 October more than 300 soldiers arrived at the Israeli military base close to the villages of Jinba and Mirkez.  Some of them invaded fields between the two Palestinian villages and camped there.  For all the week, they did military drills in the area and invaded the Palestinian villages.  During the drills, soldiers broke into the village of Jinba, entering into private properties, preventing some Palestinian shepherds from grazing their sheep on Palestinian fields, intimidating and scaring the inhabitants.

On the nights of Thursday 24 and Friday 25, the soldiers trained around the Palestinian village of Halaweh.  On the night of Wednesday 23, the soldiers entered in the houses of the Palestinian village of Al Mirkez, ransacking homes.

Finally, on Sunday, 27 October, eight Israeli soldiers stopped and detained the Palestinian who drives the school transport jeep around Masafer Yatta for the Palestinian Ministry of Education.  Every day he accompanies the elementary schoolchildren on their way from several remote villages to their school in Al Fakheit village.  The soldiers forced the driver to get out of the car; then they questioned him.  Moreover, the soldiers shouted and him and insulted him, and beat him on his abdomen, face and back.  Later, they forced the driver to get in the car and drive on the spikes used at army checkpoints in order to puncture the tires.

Despite the fact that the Ministry of Defence accepted the mediation with the [South Hebron Hills] Palestinians proposed by High Court of Justice, the Israeli government is continuing its policy of threats against the Masafer Yatta inhabitants. 


Operation Dove - Nonviolent Peace Corps
Ass.  Comunità Papa Giovanni XXIII

Al-Khalil: Boy beaten by soldiers

Yesterday, October 22nd, CPT talked with 15 year old Mohammed (not his real name) in the Alya Hospital in Al Khalil/Hebron. Mohammed had been beaten by the Israeli military yesterday for not having an ID.

Palestinians are not issued ID's until they reach 16. Mohamed had been beaten in the back of his head and body by the soldiers who had also used the butts of their guns. Mohammed subsequently fainted. The military then covered his body and left him where he had fallen. After a crowd had gathered and news had spread, Mohammed's family arrived and got him to the hospital.

Al-Khalil Reflection: Remember your childhood

Remember if you can your childhood.

Remember being a child during the holidays.

Remember the feeling of being free of school for a week.

Remember the feeling of anticipation; the presents, the food, your favourite aunt or uncle.

Remember the decorations, the days of preparations.

Remember the meal, the family together around a single table.

Remember the presents, the sweets, your favourite dish.

Remember the weather, the songs sung, the music played, the family games.

Palestine: CPT Palestine plans new direction for its work


CPT’s Palestine team will stay in Hebron, a microcosm of the Israeli military occupation of Palestine, and make human rights promotion a focus of its work, but plans to expand its work into new peacebuilding enterprises over the next three years.

Most full-time Palestine CPTers and several reservists gathered for a five-day working retreat in Bethlehem from 9-15 October 2013 (Israeli authorities denied Jonathan Brenneman entry into the country three times on September 17, 24 and October 9, so he was not present).  Under the guidance of professional facilitator Gerry O’Sullivan, they produced a three-year strategic plan, in effect through the year 2016.

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Entery Denied: Part II*

I made a second attempt to cross the border. Spoiler alert, I didn’t make it. 

I have been volunteering with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) in Palestine for one year. Due to visa restrictions all volunteers have to come into the country under a tourist visa, and leave every three months to renew our visas. Last week I was returning across the Allenby Border Crossing for my fourth stint. I was questioned extensively about myself, my family, my plans for my visit, and the work of CPT. After 7 hours of questioning and waiting I was told I was denied entry. I asked the reason for my denial. They did not give a clear answer, but did suggest that part of the reason involved not having sufficient evidence to support back my story. The soldier suggested I return later with a letter from CPT, evidence of where I was going to stay, and added that I should get a letter from the Israeli embassy. I took his advice, but the Israeli embassy was closed for over a week. So I returned to the border with a letter from CPT stating our work, my position, and my purpose for entering the country. I also printed out two letters from Israeli friends ‘inviting’ me. 

Prayers for Peacemakers, September 25, 2013

Epixel* for 29 September 2013 
Gal KobiQitoun Checkpoint
The LORD opens the eyes of
the blind.
The LORD lifts up
those who are bowed down;
the LORD loves the righteous.

The LORD watches over
the strangers; he upholds
the orphan and the widow,
but the way of the wicked
he brings to ruin.
Psalm 146:8-9

Prayers for Peacemakers, September 25, 2013
Pray for the family of Staff Sgt. Gal Kobi, killed by a Palestinian sniper this week in Hebron.  In reprisal, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu authorized settlers to take over a building in Hebron near the checkpoint that CPTers monitor every morning for school patrol.  Having a new Israeli settlement near the checkpoint will greatly increase the physical risk to children and teachers coming to school, as well as making the lives of the people living in the neighborhood a nightmare.


Related Story: AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Settlers re-occupy Abu Rajib house

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Settlers re-occupy Abu Rajib house

On 23 September 2013, in response to the death of Israeli soldier Staff Sgt. Gal Kobi, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for illegal settlement expansion in the Old City of Hebron.

At 1:00 a.m. on Tuesday 24 September, the Christian Peacemaker Team in Hebron received reports from the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee that Israeli settlers had re-occupied the Abu Rajib house west of the Tomb of the Patriarchs.  Settlers had been evicted from the building in April of 2012.

The resettlement of the Abu Rajib house is a direct and significant risk to the community of Hebron, international law, and human rights, as settlements are illegal under international law and impede the ongoing peace process.

In addition to the illegality of the settlement, the location of Abu Rajib will constitute a severe threat to the freedom of movement for Palestinians.  The house sits between two Palestinian Schools and Israeli military checkpoint 209, which CPT monitors every morning as part of its school patrol.  If the settlement remains, it will be in the middle of an area hundreds of Palestinian children must pass each morning to attend classes.