Applies to CPTnet releases from Palestine projects

HEBRON: International NGOs rally to rescue Hebron orphanages

Representatives from CPT, UNICEF, UNOCHA, Defense for Children International, the YMCA, Relief International and other human rights organizations met in Hebron on 8 May 2008 to help Hebron’s orphans and students now living with the fear that the Israeli military will close their homes and schools. The representatives selected a core group of Palestinian and International NGO’s (Non-Governmental Organizations) to halt the Israeli attack against Islamic Charitable Society (ICS) orphanages and schools. The core group will also develop programs to ease the anxiety that has been part of the children’s lives since the Israeli military stated its intent to shut down the facilities.

AT-TUWANI UPDATE: 27 March-20 April 2008

5 April
During the morning, At-Tuwani shepherds, accompanied by CPTers and members of an Israeli peace organization, took their flocks to graze in a field across highway 317 from the entrance to the Israeli settlement of Ma’on. …

At 2:00 p.m., six settlers approached At-Tuwani from the trees that surround the settlement outpost of Havot Ma’on. Two jeep-loads of soldiers were already present at the scene, as well as Palestinians and CPTers, and many more At-Tuwani villagers soon arrived. In an effort to move the Palestinians and internationals back, the soldiers argued that the area was a closed military zone but refused to show any papers. Instead of moving out of the contested area, the village children began a game of football (soccer), and two At-Tuwani hajjis (matriarchs) sat down on the ground in front of the soldiers, while CPTers filmed. The playful resistance continued for at least half an hour, until At-Tuwani village leaders urged the women and children to move back from the soldiers. The Palestinians did so, and the army left at 3:00 p.m.

HEBRON URGENT ACTION: Israeli military raids Hebron orphanage sewing workshop.

At 1:00 a.m. on Wednesday 30 April, the Israeli military raided the Hebron Girls' Orphanage in the H1 area of Hebron.…

Statements of support for the orphans have come in from former President Jimmy Carter, from European Union Vice President Luisa Morgentini, and from representatives of other international organizations worried about the fate of the orphans in Hebron.  Please join with them in supporting the orphans.  Write to the Israeli embassy in your country and to your elected representatives to protest this latest illegal act by the Israeli military in Hebron.

AT-TUWANI: Armed settlers invade village, attacking Palestinians and internationals while soldiers and police stand by

On Friday, 2 May 2008, shortly after 3:00 p.m., three settlers, including the Ma’on settlement security guard, entered At-Tuwani and accused Palestinians of stealing cherries. When internationals approached, filming and taking photographs, the settlers pushed, kicked, and head-butted them and Palestinians with them, and also broke a video camera. As more settlers and Palestinians arrived, several scuffles broke out while Israeli soldiers and police looked on.

AT-TUWANI: Israeli authorities enforce closed military zone for Palestinians, but not for settlers

On Thursday, 24 April 2008, Israeli military authorities declared the area north of route 317 (across from the village of At-Tuwani) a closed military zone. They began to enforce the closure from approximately 3:15 p.m., stopping Palestinian drivers coming from both directions but allowing over thirty Israeli settlers to violate the order.

HEBRON UPDATE: 1–14 April 2008

Wednesday 2 April
…In the evening, Lingle, Friesen, Arbour and Rehm joined Rasheed for dinner at the boys’ orphanage. CPTers were presented with a certificate reading, “Thanks and Appreciation. The administration of the Islamic Charitable Society in Hebron, itsemployees, orphans and students are so pleased to extend their thanks, gratefulness and appreciation to all members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams for their tremendous efforts, solidarity and protest against the unjust Israeli military decision to confiscate all the properties of the Society. We highly appreciate your long staying with the orphans at their dorms.”

Monday 7 April
Arbour led a group of eleven Americans from Interfaith Peace Builders to At-Tuwani, and back to Hebron for a walk through the Old City. Near the Ibrahimi Mosque, a young Palestinian said that he had not been able to visit his father’s grave in the nearby cemetery since 2000, when soldiers beat him for doing so. A visitor asked if he would feel safer if the group accompanied him. He agreed, and Arbour led the group to the cemetery. He prayed at his father’s grave, and returned to the group with tears in his eyes.

AT-TUWANI: Israeli military fails to uphold Palestinian land rights.

On Saturday 12 April 2008, about thirty Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals gathered in South Hebron Hills village of Um al Kher in support of local Palestinian shepherds. Israeli settlers from the adjacent settlement of Karmel frequently threaten und use physical violence against their Palestinian neighbors. The group of supporters stood between new additions to Karmel and Palestinian shepherds as the shepherds attempted to graze and water their flocks on their own land. A number of Israeli soldiers and police arrived and physically forced the supporters to move some distance from the settlement.

AT-TUWANI REFLECTION: Shanti’s shot sheep

One of the shepherds here in the South Hebron Hills reminds me of a prophet from biblical times. He is a Palestinian from a village near At-Tuwani and has a dark, bushy beard and wild hair. Like the prophets, he is a fearless nonviolent witness to the truth when confronting the Powers that Be. I’ll call him Shanti.

HEBRON: Update on orphanages and other Islamic Charity Society properties

On 7 April, 2008, the Israeli High Court granted the Israeli military an indefinite delay to provide full justification for the closure of the Hebron Girls and Boys schools, orphanages, and other properties owned by the Islamic Charitable Society (ICS).


On several occasions during March, Israeli soldiers declared areas near At-Tuwani “Closed Military Zones,” forcing families and shepherds off their land and preventing them from grazing sheep and harvesting spring herbs. These closures followed incidents in which settlers arrived in areas where Palestinians were grazing sheep and began to assault both Palestinians and sheep. This type of harassment has increased with the start of the spring grazing season, as shepherds attempt to use their grazing land. On several occasions, sheep were injured, both by settlers and by Israeli soldiers.

Palestinians emphasize that the increased use of “closed military zone” orders will seriously interfere with their work as farmers and shepherds. The price of feed has risen dramatically in the past year, making outdoor grazing crucial to the economic stability of the villages in the region. The spring plowing and harvesting season is also brief, and interrupting access to land at this time of year will create substantial financial hardship.

Also during this time, settlers constructed a new gate across the road used by the school children to walk from Tuba to At-Tuwani. The Israeli soldiers assigned to accompany the school children from Tuba past the Hill 833 settlement outpost, which settlers call "Havat Ma’on," began to cut short their escort at this new gate. This evasion of the military's responsibility forced the children to walk unaccompanied for fifteen minutes of a twenty-five minute walk through an area where they are vulnerable to settler harassment and attack.