HEBRON UPDATE: October 15-21, 2002
November 6, 2002
HEBRON UPDATE: October 15-21, 2002
Tuesday, October 15
A Palestinian man with a handcart of food supplies for Qurtuba School
visited the CPT apartment and told the team that soldiers had denied him
access to the connector street which runs by the Beit Romano settlement
between the Bab iBaladiye and Shuhada Street because it is a "Jewish
street." After lengthy negotiations with the soldiers at the checkpoint,
they still denied him access.
Wednesday 16 October
Kristin Anderson along with a WCC ecumenical accompanier observed Israeli
settler children throwing stones at teachers heading to the Qurtuba Girls'
School across from the Beit Hadassah settlement. A settler boy threw a rock
at Anderson from about ten feet away, then another from five feet. He
marched up to her, grabbed her hat, and smacked her on her forehead.
Anderson and the accompanier asked the soldier standing nearby why he hadn't
stopped the children from throwing rocks. He replied, "They are children.
What can I do?"
The accompanier said that he knew of many tactics the soldiers used to
control Palestinian children [tear gas, "rubber" bullets], but that "Perhaps
if he would just sternly tell the children not to hit and throw rocks,
instead of laughing along with them,
it could possibly have an effect." A second soldier approached as the first
retreated and apologized. "You should not be here. This is not your job.
You are making them angry by being here," he said. Anderson insisted that
it was someone's job to insure that children and teachers could walk to
school without getting attacked. Agreeing, he said, "It doesn't always
happen, because some of the soldiers are 'stupid' and don't intervene in the
actions of settler children."
Thursday, October 17
At 7am, Anderson, Donna Hicks, and Bourke Kennedy observed soldiers
patrolling the old market accompanied by a cameraman. When the CPTers asked
if there was a problem, the cameraman jumped in front and asked who the
CPTers were. "We are with Christian Peacemaker Teams and we have had a
presence in Hebron for seven years. We live here." The cameraman asked,
"Why do you think there's a problem?" A CPTer replied, "We are going on
school patrol to help insure that students get to school safely."
"Will the soldiers stop them?" asked the cameraman.
"You would have to ask them
"Who might stop them?"
"We have seen soldiers prevent children
from going to school."
Even after repeated requests, the cameraman refused to identify himself
except as a journalist.
While conducting a tour for a visiting church group later in the day, CPTers
observed the same soldier patrol with cameraman filming in the old
Hicks and Kennedy learned that the High Court had handed down a decision
that settlers vacate the building they had occupied in the old market
adjacent to Beit Romano.
Friday, October 18
Saturday, October 19
CPTers observed a settler boy at one of the doors to the building where
settlers were squatting.
Anderson observed a group of twenty settlers accompanied by six soldiers on
what a soldier described as "a historical tour" of the old city.
Sunday, October 20
Monday, October 21
CPTers observed soldiers at the checkpoint at the head of Tariq ibn Ziad
Street stopping vehicles and executing ID checks. A soldier stopped a taxi
carrying four teachers to a school twenty minutes away. The teachers
to leave without their driver because they said he would be detained for
long periods of time if they left him. When Anderson pointed out that their
students were waiting for their teachers, the soldier said their
driver could take them to their school but had to come right back to the
checkpoint. The soldiers kept his ID. He took the teachers to school and
returned right away. The soldiers detained him for a further 30 minutes.
Hicks and Bob Holmes observed soldiers closing down shops in the old marke
again. The lead soldier said the purpose was to reduce traffic to lessen
the chances of a "terrorist" getting near Avraham Avinu settlement. He and
his companion agreed that it was sad that the Palestinians couldn't earn a
living, but said, "We have our job to do." When Hicks suggested it was not
fair to penalize all Palestinians for the behavior of a few and that there
is a perception that settlers are not held
responsible for their actions, the second soldier said, "You don't want to
hear about it." Hicks said, "Tell me." The second soldier said, "A settler
shot into the casbah. We took him to the military base. Some settlers came
to get him. We prevented it, and he is in jail."
Visitors from France met with Holmes and Atta Jaber. [See forthcoming
release "Amit and Atta", October 22, 2002]