HEBRON UPDATE: January 21-February 9, 2004
February 11, 2004
HEBRON UPDATE: January 21-February 9, 2004
Wednesday, January 21, 2004
Diane Janzen, Jerry Levin and Art Gish attended a meeting called by the
Governate of Hebron and the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian
Affairs for a variety of NGOs and government agencies to discuss the current
humanitarian crisis in the Occupied Territories. They talked about the "new
poor"--people who no longer have their jobs working in Israel. Participants
also discussed the confiscation of productive farmland and prevention of
crop harvesting which is causing an ever greater dependence on food aid and
Maureen Jack and a CPT friend traveled south of Yatta to the Jinba area to
investigate reports of destruction of barley and wheat crops due to
herbicide spraying from an Israeli plane. (See January 31 release,
"Destruction of crops in and near Jinba.")
Thursday, January 22
On the way to Nablus to learn about the situation there, Jack, Barbara
Martens, Janzen, Levin, and a friend of CPT were denied entry past the
Hawara checkpoint. Soldiers told them only Palestinians with ID and UN
personnel could enter Nablus. However, about seventy-five Palestinians with
them in the queue were also turned back. Some showed the team their medical
documentation in addition to their ID. The group decided to get to Nablus
using paths and gravel roads that would go up and down hills to go around
the checkpoint. The total journey of forty miles took five hours to
The group made contact with ISM members, who showed them a still vibrant Old
City, but also homes demolished in Israeli operations. The team then
accompanied an ISMer to the site of an Israeli operation in progress. Within
minutes of their arrival, the explosion of a home demolition rocked the
area. (See January 30 release, "More than just a number.")
Friday, January 23
In the morning, Jack, Martens, Janzen, Levin, and a friend of CPT were taken
to sites damaged in the Old City of Nablus during the invasion of the city
by the Israeli military in December of 2003. Though the damage was fairly
recent, they could see evidence of repair and rebuilding in progress. When
asked by Martens whether there was financial assistance available for the
reconstruction, the Palestinian ISMer guiding them said, " No, when
something like this happens, we all give what we can. If I have some money,
I will give it to them. If someone can do so some of the work, he gives that
to them. In that
way we quickly rebuild."
Saturday, January 24
Sunday, January 2
Monday, January 26
Levin and Janzen took photos to document land seizure around the Kiryat Arba
and Harsina settlements.
Tuesday, January 27
Gish met six soldiers who had come to patrol on Chicken Market street, where
the CPT apartment is located. One soldier pointed his M-16 at Gish who
told the soldier, "Please don't point your gun at me."
"I'll point my gun anywhere I want", the soldier replied.
Wednesday, January 28
Uniformed Palestinian police returned to the streets of Hebron for the first
time since the Israeli army re occupied the city in June 2002.
Thursday, January 29
On the way back from school patrol Art Arbour and Gish saw soldiers
detaining a Palestinian. He was leaning against a wall spread-eagled. A
soldier kicked his legs farther apart. Gish said, "Stop that. Treat the man
A soldier replied, "This is a very dangerous man."
Gish responded, "Does this give you the right to abuse him?"
The soldier answered, "No".
Gish reminded them of international law regarding treatment of civilians and
prisoners during occupation. Soldiers then led the man away.
Friday, January 30
Late in the evening Arbour engaged in a lengthy conversation with a soldier
newly arrived in Hebron, and a settler security guard at the Beit Romano
checkpoint. The conversation ended with handshakes all round and an
agreement to disagree. The security guard's last words were "Do your good
work, but do it in Canada or someplace else."
Saturday, January 31
Martens and Gish observed about thirty Israeli settler youth harassing a
Palestinian family who live just below Kiryat Arba settlement. About eight
Israeli soldiers arrived and stood between the Israeli settlers and the
house. The settlers then loitered in the Palestinian's olive orchard.
Eventually they left. (See February 7 release, "A pastoral scene.")
Sunday February 1
Monday February 2
The main road through the Beqa'a Valley, which was built on Palestinian land
about ten years ago and for the past two years has been closed to
Palestinian traffic, was opened--but only for the four days of the Muslim
celebration of Eid al Adha that ends Thursday.
Tuesday February 3
A soldier on a Palestinian rooftop called out to Diane Janzen and Art Gish
as they passed by, "Do you love Jesus?" The soldier then said that he is a
Jew but he loves Jesus, and asked Gish if he had a problem with that. "No,"
Gish replied. "Jesus was a Jew."
Wednesday February 4
A soldier at the Beit Romano checkpoint pointed his gun at Art Arbour as he
approached to monitor the detention of two young Palestinian men who were
being forced to maintain a crouching posture. As Arbour got closer the
soldier yelled, "Stop!" and demanded to know who he was and what he wanted.
After answering, Arbour wanted to know why the soldiers were detaining the
Palestinians. The soldier swore at Arbour and told him it was none of his
business. Arbour replied that it was his business if the soldier was
violating international law, and then he asked the soldier if the two young
men had done anything wrong. The soldier said that he did not have to answer
that question; but he did confer with his
partner stationed on a nearby roof top and shortly after that allowed the
Palestinians to stand. After a few more minutes the soldiers let them go on
A friend Gish visited told him that Osama Bin Laden is a little terrorist
but "Bush is a big terrorist." Later, near the fence that prevents access to
Shuhada Street from the street on which the CPT apartment is lo