HEBRON UPDATE: 2-15 December 2005
27 December 2005
HEBRON UPDATE: 2-15 December 2005
Team members during the period were David Corcoran, Elizabeth Garcia, John
Lynes, Rich Meyer, Kathie Uhler, Diane Janzen, Kristin Anderson, Jenny
Elliott, Diane Zimmerman and Art Gish.
During this period all members took part in daily school patrols, and
their thoughts were with fellow CPTers currently being held in Iraq.
Friday 2 December
Rich Meyer took the B'nei Avraham tour of Hebron with a Peace Now
settlement study group. Israeli peace activist Yehuda Shaul led the tour,
and at the conclusion took the group to the top of the hill past the
Jewish cemetery near Tel Rumeida. There he gave his own testimony of his
time as a soldier in Hebron during 2001, with orders nightly for "punitive
fire" at Haret e-Sheikh. He read the testimony of other soldiers from the
"Breaking the Silence" project. His accounts throughout the tour closely
matched the testimonies of Palestinians and CPTers of the time. Team
members had frequent discussions with Shaul when he served in Hebron in
In the afternoon Meyer met with an official at the U.S. Consulate. The
consular representative was interested in all reports from Tuwani, and in
particular wanted to follow the stories of the school escort, settlement
expansion and farming/herding access to land.
Saturday 3 December
Meyer did an interview on Al Jazeera explaining the work of CPT.
The group of students gathered at the Yatta Road checkpoint, close to the
Ibrahimi Boys' School, was smaller than during the previous week. With
razor wire on both sides of the plastic barriers, the children had less
opportunity to protest against the metal-detector cabin. They
nevertheless chanted, kicked and pulled the wire, held up posters in
Arabic and Hebrew, and threw a few stones. Soldiers threatened Jenny
Elliott (visiting from the At-Tuwani team) with arrest when she intervened
protect the children. The children dispersed at 8:50 a.m.
Sunday 4 December
At the checkpoint close to the Ibrahimi Boys' School, teachers from the
Girls' School started to give lessons in the street. Some used the walls
of buildings and concrete barriers as chalkboards. Some of the boys also
went through the motions of a classroom, but none of their teachers was
present. The children dispersed at 8:30.
Monday 5 December
At the Ibrahimi checkpoint children repeatedly dragged the razor wire away
from the barrier, to the annoyance of the Israeli soldiers.
Tuesday 6 December
School patrol at the Ibrahimi checkpoint passed uneventfully. The Israeli
soldiers firmly refused to allow anyone through the barriers. None of the
girls or women teachers went through the metal detector. However about forty
of the boys did so.
At noon Corcoran, Lynes and Meyer, together with Kristin Anderson and
Diana Zimmerman from the At-Tuwani team, took part in a demonstration in
front of the Red Cross building in Hebron. The rally, organised by the
Hebron Society for Palestinian Prisoners, called for the release of
captives in Palestine and Iraq, including the four detained CPTers. Many
of the demonstrators came from Yatta. Out of At-Tuwani's population of
180, about one hundred arrived by bus. The event ended with a short
march. Some photographers and journalists were present, but no television
crews. The suicide bombing at Netanya on the previous day prevented the
attendance of many Palestinians from outside Hebron, including influential
Wednesday 7 December
Meyer attended an ISM (International Solidarity Movement) press conference
in Nablus, and an ISM candlelight vigil in Ramallah. In Nablus, the Qadi
Hamed Bitawi spoke, along with Father George Awad and the Mufti of Nablus,
Mohammed Bishawi. In Ramallah a hundred people, Christian and Muslim,
held photos of the four CPTers detained in Baghdad.
Around noon, children from the Beit Hadassah settlement threw large stones
at Palestinians in the market. Israeli soldiers summoned a Palestinian
ambulance, but on arrival the Israeli military would not permit it, or
CPTers Corcoran and Lynes, to enter the area. The CPTers summoned TIPH
(the Temporary International Presence in Hebron, a body of official
observers). The team received no reports of injuries.
Thursday 8 December
About fifteen girls lined up at the barrier close to the Ibrahimi Boys'
School and insisted on going through, in spite of a soldier telling them
to pass through the metal detector cabin. When Kathie Uhler asked the
soldiers to let the children through the barrier to school, since it was
obvious they were not armed, a soldier answered, "Yeah. But we have an
Soon another soldier opened the wire at the barrier and let through all
the girls, the women teachers, and many of the boys. When Uhler asked a
teacher why this had happened, she replied, "Who knows?" Another teacher
said, "We are not trying to cause any trouble. We only want to teach in
our school (a high school for girls.)" When asked why he let them through,
a soldier answered Uhler, "Little girls can go through. It is not worth the
Two women arrived from Machsom Watch (Israeli Human Rights Watch at
checkpoints) at 7:45 a.m. They talked at length with the soldiers. One of
the women told Uhler, "The soldiers said the commander said to let the
girls through the barrier today, only today." She indicated to Uhler that
this was probably a face-saving statement.
The remaining boys went quickly through the cabin.
A CBC (Canadian) television crew interviewed Meyer and Janzen, who took
them through the Old City and to Qurtuba Palestinian Girls' School. They
also came to the CPT apartment where they interviewed Lynes and took
pictures of the CPT members at work in their office.
Friday 9 December
At 1:00 p.m., Rich Meyer observed two settler boys throwing tiles from a
low flat roof behind Beit Hadassah at Palestinians (and Meyer) down in old
Shalala Street. Meyer called the police and TIPH (the Temporary
International Presence in Hebron, an official body of observers).
Saturday 10 December
(International Human Rights Day)
At 6:45 a.m. John Lynes, en route to school patrol, saw Israeli soldiers
entering the Mayela home behind the CPT apartment across the rooftops.
Others heard and saw nothing from there, but at 8:45 a young neighbor boy
came to tell us that the soldiers were still in their house.