HEBRON UPDATE: 24 May- 31 May 2007
17 June 2007
HEBRON UPDATE: 24 May- 31 May 2007
During this time, the Hebron team included Jan Benvie, Jill Granberg, Joel
Gulledge, Eileen Hanson, Esther Kern, Ilse Meuhlsteph, Carol Rose, Mary
Scott Boria, Mary Wendeln and Mary Yoder.
Thursday, 24 May 2007
Joel Gulledge and Eileen Hanson met a group from Friends of Sabeel near the
Gutnick Center. Several members of the group visited the Ibrahimi Mosque.
The others, including two American Jewish women, waited with Hanson and
Gulledge down the hill between the mosque and Gutnick Center. A Border
Policeman came and told the group to move to the other side of the gate that
blocks the road and separates access to the mosque and synagogue entrances.
When asked why the group had to move, he responded "They are Jews,"
motioning toward the women.
Hanson replied that they were Americans, and entitled to be on the street
there. He continued to insist that they move. Hanson went to talk with the
commander, who was sitting at one of the shops along Shuhada Street.
Gulledge remained there with the group. Carol Rose and Ilse Meuhlsteph soon
arrived. Meuhlsteph asked, in Arabic, for an explanation from the Border
Policeman. Rose and Hanson attempted, unsuccessfully, to contact the US
consulate to clarify freedom of access for American visitors in Hebron.
Meanwhile, the rest of the group came out from the mosque and the entire
group walked with Hanson and Gulledge along Shuhada Street, past Beit
Hadassah settlement and through the Dubboya Street checkpoint. Soldiers did
not allow the Palestinian guide with the group through the checkpoint.
Hanson accompanied him and two others from the group, back along Shuhada
Street and entered the Old City through the mosque checkpoint
Jan Benvie gave the group a roof tour. Benvie and Esther Kern then escorted
them through the souq and out through the mosque checkpoint with no
When Benvie and Kern returned to the mosque gate about ten minutes later,
the large iron gate leading to the souq was closed and padlocked. Half a
dozen Palestinians were on the souq side waiting to exit the Old City. Four
members of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) were on the
mosque side with the CPTers. Soon, a border policeman came with a key,
unlocked the padlock and opened the gate. He allowed TIPH to pass into the
Old City, which they did, but refused to allow any Palestinians to pass.
The Border Policeman yelled at the CPTers to go through as well. Benvie
asked him to let the Palestinians pass through. Benvie and Kern waited to
see that Border Police would allow the Palestinians through.
Rose and Wendeln participated in the Palestine Popular Committee action
campaigning for the opening of Dubboya Street.
Later in the day, Benvie and Rose returned to the mosque checkpoint to see
if the gate was still open. They proceeded down to the checkpoint beside
the Gutnick Center and saw a Border Policeman grabbing a young Palestinian
male around the neck and pushing him up against the wall. The young man was
crying out in pain. Gulledge and Kern arrived to photograph the soldier
searching the man. Later, Rose noticed what looked like blood on the young
man's face. Meanwhile a male settler approached them, talked to the soldiers
and started videotaping Benvie, Gulledge, Kern and Rose.
Friday 25th May
Rose, Scott Boria, and Wendeln observed that Border Police had detained some
Palestinian men for more than twenty minutes after mid-day prayers. Some of
CPTers engaged in a conversation with a Jewish settler near the Gutnick
Center. Meanwhile, another Jewish settler arrived and called Scott Boria
and Wendeln "Jew haters."
During an afternoon patrol, Hanson and Kern noticed that Border Police were
holding some men at the mosque checkpoint. They went to speak with one of
the men, to ask how long they had been there. An Israeli Border Policeman
told the CPTers to leave. He said there was a new rule stipulating that CPT
was not allowed to stand near the checkpoint. He told Hanson and Kern that
if CPT did not leave, the gate at the checkpoint would be closed. Hanson
and Kern left, planning to come back later.
About 4:30 p.m., Benvie and Hanson returned to the mosque checkpoint. The
same border policeman told Benvie and Hanson to leave the area. The Border
Policeman looked at Hanson and said "I told you before that you cannot stand
here," and repeated his threat to lock the gate. Benvie asked him to
clarify what he was saying. He replied, "If you do not move, I will lock
the gates and not let any Palestinians through." Benvie asked him if he
meant that he would punish the Palestinians if she did not move. "I will
not be punishing them," he said, "you will be punishing them." Benvie then
asked if he was aware that locking the gate constituted collective
punishment, which is illegal under the Geneva Conventions. He responded
that he was not familiar with the Geneva Conventions.
Saturday, 26 May 2007
Wendeln went to Qurtuba School to assist EAPPI with school patrol. They
again faced some harassment from the Israeli police (see HEBRON UPDATE:
15-23 May 2007.)
Sunday, 27 May 2007
In the morning, Mary Wendeln and Eileen Hanson went to the Kiryat Arba
Police Station to testify about events that took place on 27 April 2007 in
the village of Al-Buweib, when settlers had attacked at least one
Palestinian, an Israeli peace activist and a member of Operation Dove.
Monday, 28 May 2007
During morning school patrol, Benvie observed soldiers detaining a teacher
from the Ibrahimi School at the checkpoint beside the Gutnick Center. All
teachers have a special certificate indicating their status that they carry
in addition to their ID. This certificate is intended to ensure that
soldiers will not hold teachers at checkpoints while coming and going from
school. Benvie explained to the Border Police that the man was a teacher
and should be allowed to pass. However, the Border Police detained him
another seven minutes.
About noon, the team learned from Atta Jaber that bulldozers were preparing
to demolish homes in the Beqa'a valley. Hanson and Kern responded. (See 30
May 2007 CPTnet release: "Two homes demolished in Beqa'a Valley by Israeli
Tuesday 29 May 2007
During morning school patrol, Benvie observed the same teacher from the
Ibrahimi School detained at the same checkpoint near the Gutnick Center (see <