Applies to CPTnet releases from Palestine projects

ISRAEL/PALESTINE: New Israeli legislation favoring Christians seeks to divide Palestinian community

The Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek
(Photo: Tree of Life)

On Monday, February 23, 2014, the Israeli Knesset enacted a new law that recognizes Muslim and Christian Arab communities as separate identities, giving them their own representation in an employment commission.  The law passed by a margin of 31 to 6.

The new law passed by the Knesset favoring Christians is, to say the least, a deceitful political stunt by Likud-Beiteinu members aimed at sowing seeds of division among Christians and between Christians and Muslims.

For the last sixty-five years, the government of Israel has not shown favoritism or bias towards the Christian community of the land, so why now?

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): February ends with arrests of children in the Old City

On the evening of 28 February 2014, soldiers arrested eight Palestinians on Shalala Street—six of them appeared to be under sixteen, and two were clearly younger than twelve.  Soldiers took the boys into the military base at Bab el Baladiya at the entrance to the Old City and after approximately an hour, the soldiers took all them away in military jeeps.

The arrests bring the total of child arrests and detentions documented by internationals working in Hebron during the month of February to eighteen. This number by no means reflects the total number of arrests and detentions of Palestinian children by Israeli forces in the city.

Some of the detentions witnessed have been relatively brief, including incidents where soldiers took children from residential streets or the market, walked them some distance, compared them to photographs or interrogated them in the street, then released them. Sometimes soldiers take children into military bases or to military police stations and question them there. Sometimes they arrest them in their homes and sometimes they hold them overnight.


SOUTH HEBRON HILLS: The precarious situation of Bir al-'Eid and an invitation to advocacy for villages of Masafer Yatta/Firing Zone 918

Sample Letter of Concern about Firing Zone 918

The following letter was drafted by Madison Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends to Representative Pocan.

Dear Representative Pocan,

An Israeli Civil Administration helicopter hovers above agricultural land adjacent to the
above agricultural land adjacent to the Al Fakheit School in Firing Zone 918, forcing a  
villager to move with his donkey. Helicopters routinely hover over the school and
surrounding agricultural land, disrupting classes for children and grazing for animals.

We are writing to you on behalf of the Madison Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (the Madison Quakers).  We are the local committee that works with the American Friends Service Committee to promote peace with justice.  The belief of the worth of every person is one of the basic principles of the Friends.
 We ask that you submit a request to the State Department for a formal inquiry as to the legality of the forced demolitions in Firing Zone 918.
We believe the Israeli establishment of Firing Zone 918 on a piece of land where 1000
Palestinians currently live is immoral, and we believe it is illegal under international law.  
The forced removal of people from their homes and livelihoods in order to create a live ammunition military training space is in violation of the Friends’ core principle of promoting peace.  
We understand the Palestinians’ removal would be in violation international law.

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Hebronites mark twentieth anniversary of Ibrahimi Mosque massacre

During the month of February, Palestinians in Hebron commemorated the twentieth anniversary of two tragic events that continue to haunt lives and curtail freedoms in the city:  the closing of Shuhada Street, the massacre of twenty-nine Palestinians in the Ibrahimi Mosque, and dozens more killed by Israeli soldiers the week after the massacre.

Israeli soldiers, Border Police, and civilian police used
teargas and stun grenades during Open Shuhada Street
march 21 February in Hebron.


Early on the morning of 25 February, during the month of Ramadan 1994, U.S.-born Israeli physician Baruch Goldstein walked into the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron armed with a rifle. Hundreds were inside the mosque in prayer at the time.  Goldstein opened fire on the kneeling men and boys at prayer, reloading at least once.  By the time worshipers stopped him,  twenty-nine had been killed and more than 100 injured.

Since the Goldstein Massacre, Israeli Occupation forces in Hebron have systematically restricted Palestinian movement in the city.  Shortly after the massacre, the Israeli Civil Administration banned Palestinian vehicles from Shuhada Street, a once-vibrant residential and commercial street that served as a hub and gathering place for the Old City of Hebron. During the second Intifada in 2000, Israel completely closed off Shuhada Street to Palestinians. Owners of shops and homes on the street could no longer use their doors, and the military closed more than 300 shops and warehouses. Families living in homes that did not have alternative access, such as over a roof or through another building, had to abandon them. Meanwhile settlements in Hebron continue to expand.  Currently settlers are in the process of trying to take an additional five buildings near the Ibrahimi Mosque and Hebron residents fear their goal is to cut off the Mosque completely to Palestinians.

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Schoolchildren exposed to teargas seven of the last eight days

Israeli soldiers have shot teargas and sound grenades at children who cross checkpoints 29 and 209 on their way to school in the morning on seven of the last eight school days.

International observers and human rights workers in Hebron have witnessed Israeli soldiers repeatedly firing grenades and sound bombs into the streets near these checkpoints while children are walking to school.  The children attend several schools located both in the Old City and in the area of Hebron designated as H2, on the other side of the checkpoints, and include preschool students as young as four.  Depending on where they live and which school they attend, children must cross these checkpoints in both directions to reach schools both inside the old city and in H2.

Because the Israeli military does not allow buses that transport younger children to preschool and kindergarten classes in H2 to cross the checkpoints, very young children living in the Old City must walk through these checkpoint areas in order to reach their school buses.

          Schoolgirls cross checkpoint 29 as soldiers prepare to fire teargas 25 February 2014          

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Settlers prevent renovation of shop near Ibrahimi mosque

On 23 February 2014 twenty Israeli settlers, led by Baruch Marzel, sat down at two tables covered in food on the side of the Sahleh street, near the Ibrahimi mosque, impeding construction and renovation work on a new shop.  Baruch Marzel is the leader of the far right-oriented Jewish National Front party.  He claims he was the “right hand man” of assassinated Rabbi Meir Kahane, acting as spokesman for the American rabbi’s Kach organization for ten years, until it was outlawed in Israel and the U.S. as a terrorist organization.

The Hebron Rehabilitation Committee has a working permit for the restoration of the shop.  The settlers attempted to stop the workers from continuing these renovations.  Twenty members of various Israeli forces (border police, civilian police and soldiers) were present to protect the settlers.

One CPTers talked to the owner of the shop, and he said “ We have permit to work, and the settlers came and claim it is not a working area.”

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Stop and frisk in the Old City; spring planting in Wadi al-Hussein

Saturday 15 February Old City, Al Khalil

Israeli soldiers entered a residential Palestinian neighborhood in the Old City of Hebron, established a flying checkpoint, and began randomly stopping Palestinian drivers.  The soldiers slowed traffic on the narrow streets of the neighborhood, searched cars, trunks, engines and checked the IDs of drivers and passengers.

Since the early l990s, Israel has restricted the movement of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories.  Methods of restriction include permanent and "flying" checkpoints, turnstiles, restricted roads, and road closures. 

Under Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and in Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Israel, as an occupying power, is required to respect civilians’ freedom of movement. 

Prayers for Peacemakers February 19, 2014

Prayers for Peacemakers February 19, 2014

Pray for the Palestinian children imprisoned in Israeli jails.  Pray that the Israeli government begins applying international law to the treatment of Palestinian minors in custody, and begins applying the same law to Israeli settler minors. 

See video "Stolen children, stolen lives," much of it filmed while mediator Gerry O' Sullivan was working with CPT's Hebron Team.  The picture below accompanies a 14 February Al-Khalil/Hebron team release, "Israeli soldiers arrest 15-year-old boy."

Epixel for February 23, 2014 

 You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely;and you
shall not lie to one another.
Leviticus 19:11

*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and
appearing with a text from the upcoming Sunday's Revised
Common Lectionary readings.

PALESTINE: Border Police detain, humiliate and arrest men trying to go to Friday prayers; CPTer’s camera taken.

On 7 February 2014, CPTers went to the routine Friday mosque patrol IMG_9874around prayer time.  Often during Friday prayers, Israeli Border police will take the IDs of young Palestinian men while they going into the Ibrahimi Mosque, check to see if they have any outstanding warrants and then return the IDs when the men come out of the mosque.  This Friday, however, Border Police were not allowing the men to go to the mosque while they were checking the IDs.

PALESTINE: August 2013-January 2014: A turbulent semester for H-2 schools in Hebron

The most routine part of CPT Palestine’s work in Hebron is the monitoring of checkpoints through which students and teachers must walk to get to schools.  For years, they have been stationed at the Qitoun checkpoint/Checkpoint 209*, which stands between boys walking from the H-1 area to il-Ibrahimi school and girls walking to al-Faiha school as well as their teachers.  This semester, after daily clashes began erupting at four other H-2 schools near the Salameh checkpoint/Checkpoint 29, CPTers (when they had enough people to do so) began monitoring Checkpoint 29 in the early morning and when school let out.