Applies to CPTnet releases from Palestine projects

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Israeli military denies entry to third CPTer in three months

 Brenneman in olive tree

On Tuesday, 17 September full-time CPTer Jonathan Brenneman was turned away at the Allenby border crossing between Jordan and the West Bank.

The Israeli authorities detained and questioned Brenneman for over seven hours before eventually sending him back to Jordan. When the Hebron team spoke to Brenneman, he had been waiting on the bridge for seven hours.  At the end of the conversation, Israeli security called him over.

During the process, Brenneman explained to the Israeli Border Patrol that he had come to Israel-Palestine to work with the Christian Peacemaker Teams in Hebron. 

SOUTH HEBRON HILLS: Report from Firing Zone 918

During their most recent weekly visit to villages in the South Hebron Hills, CPTers witnessed a large group of Israeli soldiers in the area and heard an artillery training activity.  Every week, Christian Peacemaker Teams, along with other internationals, provides a presence in an area, home to twelve villages, that the Israeli military has designated as Firing Zone 918—a closed military zone for training maneuvers.

On Sunday, 15 September, CPTers witnessed soldiers and a military vehicle near the village of Halaweh and two helicopter flyovers as children studied and played at the school in Al Fakheit.   They heard several other helicopters flying nearby during the night.  On the morning of 16 September, CPTers heard what seemed to be bomb detonation and machine gun fire.  Later in the morning, when they visited the village of Jinba, residents confirmed that the Israeli military had conducted infantry training exercises nearby from about 6:00 to 8:00 a.m. that morning. 

During their visit to Jinba village, CPTers learned that the Israeli authorities had stopped employees of World Vision as they were driving from Jinba to Al Fakheit and confiscated their car on 11 September.  According to a United Nations employee, soldiers said they would not return the car for at least sixty days.

The area has been relatively quiet since May – with no training activities seen or heard, though helicopter flyovers continued even during this “quiet” time and settler violence and a military raid occurred in July.  Here is a video of an Israeli military helicopter harrassing the village of Al Fakheit:

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Clashes erupt in Hebron at end of August


  Tear gas in Baab-i-Zawwiyye

On the morning of Monday, 26 August Israeli soldiers raided the Qalandia refugee camp to make an arrest.  As the soldiers moved through the camp, crowds gathered, and protests, which included stone-throwing, began.  In response, the Israeli military killed three Palestinians and injured fifteen.  The events in Qalandia created waves of protest throughout the West Bank.  That afternoon clashes erupted in Hebron.

Crowds of men and boys had gathered near a checkpoint in H1 (the part of Hebron under nominal Palestinian control).  When CPTers arrived, the crowds had begun throwing stones.  Israeli soldiers were on roofs.

A few blocks from the checkpoint (still in H1, where according to the Hebron protocols, Israeli soldiers are not allowed to be), soldiers had set off sound bombs.  As CPTers approached, the soldiers were retreating back towards the checkpoint; while most of the soldiers seemed relatively calm, one soldier was clearly agitated and momentarily focused his anger on CPTers before they retreated.

Prayers for Peacemakers, 6 September 2013

Prayers for Peacemakers, 6 September 2013

Pray for the people of the Old City of Hebron and the South Hebron Hills who received inconclusive rulings from Israel's High Court of Justice on cases that have crucial impacts on their lives this week.

Related Story:  JERUSALEM: Israeli High Court postpones ruling on al-Rajabi Building, sends Firing Zone 918 for mediation

JERUSALEM: Israeli High Court postpones ruling on al-Rajabi Building, sends Firing Zone 918 for mediation

On 2 September 2013, Israel’s High Court of Justice heard arguments on two cases that could significantly change the character of the West Bank , in particular the Old City of Hebron and the South Hebron Hills villages of  Majaez, Taban, Isfay, Fakhit, Hallawa, Al Mirkaz, Jinba and Kharuba.  In the case of the al-Rajabi Building in Hebron, it postponed its ruling, and it submitted the case of the villages in the area that the Israeli military has designated as Firing Zone 918 for mediation.

Although the two court cases are distinct, they both represent all too common Israeli violations of international law that evict Palestinians from their homes and carve out portions of the West Bank to make room for the expansion of Israeli settlements onto Palestinian lands.

Map of "Firing Zone 918," courtesy of B'Tselem 

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Solidarity demonstration held at al-Rajabi building

Yesterday CPT attended a demonstration in solidarity with the families from the Wadi al-Hussein area of Hebron, where the al-Rajabi house is located.

Demonstrators shouted in Arabic, “No to settlements!” highlighting the possible future of the Al Rajabi building.

Today, (Monday, 2 September) the Israeli High Court in Jerusalem will decide to whom the al-Rajabi building belongs: the al-Rajabi family or the settlers.

The demonstration occurred with no violence, despite the fact that settlers, who appeared tense and uncomfortable with the number of Palestinians in attendance, were present. Settlers stood along side the Israeli military, taking pictures and filming the demonstrators. After around thirty minutes, a large contingent of Israeli soldiers broke up the demonstration

Palestinians are worried that violence will occur if the settlers take over the building and the area becomes a closed military zone. If Palestinians win the building back, locals are still concerned that there will be a “price tagging” campaign (settlers taking revenge by attacking Palestinians and their property) in the area.

“We are appealing to the international community, diplomats and consulates to put pressure on the Israeli government to stop the [Al Rajabi] decision,” said the Governor of Hebron.

The Hebron Rehabilitation Committee (HRC) organised the demonstration, attended by Youth Against Settlement (YAS) and the Hebron Defence Committee (HDC).  Organisations attending alongside CPT were the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme for Palestine and Israel (EAPPI).

Click here for information on the al-Rajabi building.

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Israeli military order CPT and EAPPI to leave Ibrahimi Mosque vicinity


 Palestinians Praying at Ibrahimi mosque
while CPTers monitor
 photo by Tammie Danielsen, former EA

On Friday the 30 August, Israeli border police aggressively ordered CPT’s Hebron team and their partner organisation EAPPI (Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel) to leave the area of the Ibrahim mosque.

In recent months, Israeli forces have repeatedly ordered both CPT and EAPPI have to remove anything that identifies them as working for an international organisation, within a small strip of road adjacent to the Ibrahim Mosque.  Although this edict is an apparent order from commanding officers, CPTers on the ground have not seen it in writing despite having asked many times.  Border Police (link) have enforced the order randomly depending on the individual Border guard and who the commanding officers are at the time.

On Friday, the Israeli forces took a new and more aggressive stance, ordering CPT and EAPPI to completely leave the vicinity of the Ibrahimi Mosque/Cave of Machpelah whilst the two groups were conducting their weekly monitoring of soldiers and settlers present as Palestinian Muslims attend Friday prayers.

Israeli Border guards confronted CPT and EAPPI about twenty minutes after they arrived at the mosque.  One of them barked, "You will leave!  Either you go on your own, or we will force you!"

Prayers for Peacemakers, 28 August 2013

Epixel* for 1 September 2013

Striking Colombian Farmers protesting
Free Trade Agreement
l. Firing Zone 918, r. Rajabi Building

The Lord overthrows the thrones of
rulers, and enthrones the lowly in their place

The Lord plucks up the roots of the
nations, and plants the humble
in their place.
Sirach 10:14-15

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

Prayers for Peacemakers, 28 August 2013

Pray that the Israeli High Court will render just decisions on 2 September 2013 when it decides whether the Israeli military can evict hundreds of families from their homes in the South Hebron Hills, and whether settlers can take over the Rajabi building in Hebron.

Related Story: PALESTINE URGENT ACTION: 2 Campaigns, 2 Petitions, 2 September 2013

Pray also for the nation of Colombia as a strike by small farmers, miners, the indigenous, truckers, teachers, and healthcare workers demanding the rights guaranteed them under the Colombian constitution enters its second week.

Related Story: COLOMBIA: National Strike participants seek recognition as full citizens

PALESTINE URGENT ACTION: 2 Campaigns, 2 Petitions, 2 September 2013

 Two of CPT Palestine's biggest campaigns have their day in court on 2 September.      

Last October, CPT Palestine, with direction from our partners, became involved with two developing situations.  One was connected to the al-Rajabi building, which lies between the settlement of Kiryat Arba and Hebron’s Old City and which settlers were trying to take over.  The other was the eviction of 1000 people in the Masafer Yatta area, which Israel designated as Firing Zone 918.  Both of these situations will come to their critical moments in Israeli courts on 2 September 2013.

We are asking our constituents to help with both of these issues, if they have not done so already:

In the case of Firing Zone 918, CPT has started a petition, in coordination with the Israeli peace activists, endeavoring to pressure the Israeli courts.  CPT's petition is aimed at USA policy makers, and will be delivered to Secretary of State John Kerry.

In the case of the Rajabi building CPT is promoting the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee’s petition.

Please click on the links to get more information and to sign the petitions.  Help prevent Israel from forcing more Palestinians from their homes, and diminishing prospects of peace and justice.      

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON) REFLECTION: A better than usual Friday (8 August 2013)

 Palestine CPTer in uniform

[Note: The following story has been edited for length.  The entire reflection may be found in the new CPT Palestine newsletter.]

Fridays have been difficult for CPT recently.  While the soldiers have been relatively benign toward the Palestinians on Fridays (which we are thrilled about), they have not been so lax with us.  Fridays have mostly consisted of us going on Mosque patrol, getting yelled at by soldiers, and leaving under fear of arrest.  A few weeks ago, soldiers told us we couldn’t be in the area with our hats and vest.  Then they told us we weren’t allowed in the area at all.  Last Friday, a soldier told us we were not allowed there.  Then he asked us why we don’t go to Syria, if I think I’m a wise guy, why we insisted on blabbing instead of leaving, if we read our Bible, why we asked so many questions when the command was “obvious,” and finally if we would like him to bring out some more soldiers to force us out.

Every Friday evening we do what we call the “prayers’ road patrol”  along the road that connects  the settlement of Kiryat Arba with the Ibrahimi Mosque/Cave of Machpelah.  Since Palestinians live along the road, Israeli soldiers are always stationed there on Friday evenings to protect settlers.  Sometimes Palestinians are denied access to the road or are attacked by settlers.

We must pass in front of the Ibrahimi Mosque (Cave of Machpelah), where soldiers have told us we cannot be, to walk on the road.  One soldier greeted us as we walked by and asked about our organization on our way back.  When I talked about what CPT stood for, he nodded in agreement.  As the conversation turned to the settlements he said, “Yeah, the settlements are a big problem.  I hope you all continue doing good work; good luck.”  We stumbled away, half in shock.