Palestine

Applies to CPTnet releases from Palestine projects

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).

AT-TUWANI UPDATE: March 2008

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.

Hebron Update: 16-22 March 2008


Monday 17 March

Arbour and Wendeln were on patrol at the Yatta checkpoint where soldiers searched over fifty children and adults. Wendeln presented the soldiers with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) letter that clearly states schoolchildren’s bags should not be searched. The soldier immediately threw the letter on the ground and stood on it.

An elderly Israeli resident of Jerusalem asked CPTer Roe to facilitate a meeting with an Arab friend from Beit Ummar with whom he had lost contact more than thirty years ago. Roe arranged the meeting. They met at a junction of Route 60 and then rode back and forth between checkpoints so they could have a conversation and exchange gifts.

AT-TUWANI REFLECTION: A little girl’s story

A Palestinian girl called Maha* lives next door to us. She is six and bright as a button. We like her a lot, which is just as well as she loves to spend time with us. She likes helping us to clean the floor or rinse our hair when we wash it. Also, she helps us with our Arabic. An exacting teacher, she often meets our efforts to pronounce words correctly with a firm ‘No.’ But she is patient, and when she speaks to us, her Arabic is slow and clear.

HEBRON: Press conference for Hebron orphanages

The Popular Committee for Supporting the Orphanages hosted a press conference at the Hebron Girls Orphanage on 7 April 2008. Approximately seventy people attended, including independent media, internationals, and clergy. The Israeli military had given orders to shut down the orphanages and schools run by the Islamic Charitable Society by 7 April.

AT-TUWANI REFLECTION: Palestinian response to Israeli settler violence

On 26 March 2008, one of our shepherd friends was out with his flock below the Hill 833 Israeli settlement outpost (called Havat Ma’on by settlers.) Suddenly he was aware of bullets from the outpost whizzing near him. The shots hit three animals: two sheep and one goat. The goat has survived but the sheep have died. Given that the communities in the area rely on subsistence farming, as their ancestors did before them, to live here, the loss of any animal threatens a family’s economic survival.

So, how did the Palestinians respond to the shooting?

HEBRON UPDATE: 8-15 March 2008

Saturday 08 March
Some of the schools in Hebron were open, to make up for a day lost earlier in the year because of heavy snowfall. In the old city, Al Fayha’a was open. The head-teacher of Al Ibrahimiyye School told CPTers he would not open the school for fear of attacks on the Palestinian children from settler children, which often happen on Saturdays.

Members of the delegation joined the team for school patrol. When Benvie, Frederick, and one of the delegates were on Shuhada Street, a young settler boy approached them. As the boy stepped towards the male delegate, Frederick stepped in the way (hoping that the boy would be reluctant to touch a woman.) The boy paused for a moment, and then kicked Frederick in the leg. An Israeli soldier stood close by and watched. Benvie repeated to the soldier that the boy kicked Frederick. The soldier ignored her and smiled at the boy, who went to stand beside the soldier, saying “Shabbat Shalom.” The boy picked up a stone and threw it towards Benvie, who was able to move out of the way. The soldier did nothing.

 

Tuesday 11 March

The delegation, along with Arbour, Fallon, Roe, and Wendeln went to the Israeli settlement of Efrat to sit shiva (pay their respects after a death, in the Jewish tradition) with a Jewish woman whose son Palestinian militants had killed in a Jerusalem Yeshiva on 6 March 2008. The woman has often welcomed CPT delegations to her house.

AT-TUWANI REFLECTION: The Stations of Shaadi

As we accompany shepherds in the South Hebron Hills, a place of great beauty, they often speak of the land they knew as children. Recently, as we accompanied one of them, Shaadi, he pointed out some of the landmarks in his memory along the way.

HEBRON URGENT ACTION: Save the Hebron orphanages and schools

On 25 February 2008, the General of Command (GOC) of the Israeli occupation army issued closure, evacuation and confiscation orders on properties and institutions funded by the Islamic Charitable Society. Three schools and two orphanages serving 7000 children faced an April 1 deadline for the closure…

ACTION

Clergy groups, human rights groups, and other NGO's are invited to send representatives to the Hebron press conference or to write letters of support for the orphanage to cptheb@palnet.com

Please call, email or write to your government officials. Urge them to send a representative to the 7 April press conference and tour at the Hebron Girls' Orphanage on Salaam Street in Hebron. Below is a suggested list of contacts for this Urgent Action.

BEIT UMMAR: Bishop Thomas Gumbleton visits family of imprisoned mayor in Beit Ummar

The family of the Farhan Al Qam, the former mayor of Beit Ummar, welcomed Bishop Thomas Gumbleton and others into their home on 19 March 2008. Mr. Al Qam, also known as Abu Musa, could not join the group because he is locked in an Israeli prison. According to the family, the Israeli government has incarcerated Farhan for the last ten months because he is a member of Hamas, not for any wrongdoing. Shortly after the village elected him mayor of Beit Ummar, the Israeli authorities also imprisoned him for six months.