HEBRON UPDATE: 25-30 September 2007
13 October 2007
HEBRON UPDATE: 25-30 September 2007
Team members during this period included Jan Benvie, Jessica Frederick,
Lorne Friesen, Christina Gibb, John Lynes, Jonathan Stucky, Kathie Uhler,
and Mary Wendeln, with guest Mary Rose.
Tuesday 25 September
While on school patrol, Jan Benvie and Mary Wendeln observed Israeli
soldiers at the Yatta Road checkpoint searching school children's bags.
Benvie explained to one soldier they should not be searching the school
children. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) gave CPT a
letter in Hebrew and English that detailed this legal position. Benvie
showed the soldier the letter. He read the letter carefully then said he
had to make a call to check the information. In a few minutes, he returned
and asked Benvie if he could have a copy to give to his commander. Benvie
obliged. The soldiers did not search any more schoolchildren while Benvie
and Wendeln were there.
A Palestinian man mugged Kathie Uhler in a side alley, where she and
Christina Gibb, had been shopping. She got a good look at her assailant who
ripped off her purse and ran off. Gibb gave him chase, shouting, and he
dropped Uhler's purse. A group of men, including several local police,
gathered immediately to offer help. Uhler quickly discovered that the thief
had taken only her two coin purses. Later Uhler filed a report at the
Central Police Station in Hebron. The officers said they were sorry for the
incident and that they would pursue the case.
At the Mosque checkpoint, Benvie and Lorne Friesen saw the Israeli Border
Police stop a young man with a brief case. They roughly pushed him against
the wall, kicking his legs and feet, and searched him and his briefcase.
Friesen observed the Border Police officer with a knife in a leather-type
case, but Friesen did not see clearly the source of the knife. The police
officer handcuffed the man and made him kneel down inside the sentry box,
where he was out of sight.
Soldiers told Benvie and Friesen to stop filming and move away from the
checkpoint. They did so but remained nearby. In contrast, a Jewish man,
wearing a traditional Jewish skullcap and civilian clothes, walked to the
Mosque checkpoint, engaged the soldiers in conversation, and videotaped
everything that was happening. The Border Police, the IDF (Israeli Defense
Forces), and the Israeli civilian Police did nothing to prevent his actions.
The police took the detained man to the police station.
Later in the afternoon, Benvie and Friesen returned to the checkpoint.
Border Police were insisting everyone pass through the metal detectors
individually. Benvie and Friesen had to wait ten minutes to get through the
checkpoint. As they got through, the Border Police closed the turnstiles
completely, and at a leisurely pace, changed shift, holding the Palestinians
trying to get out of the Old City at a complete standstill.
Wednesday 26 September
Returning from school patrol, Friesen and Wendeln went up to the soup
kitchen. As they walked down the hill, a shopkeeper from the store near
where Uhler had been mugged greeted Friesen. The shopkeeper invited the
CPTers into his shop and spoke with them in Arabic about the theft. He gave
the CPTers three cans of tuna fish. They immediately offered to pay for
them, but the shopkeeper shook his head and pointed to the sky, invoking
Friesen and Uhler visited a Palestinian family in Tel Rumeida. Israeli
settler harassment of their home continues unabated on a daily basis. The
father's family owns three existing homes in Israeli towns built over
Palestinian villages. Uhler shared that she plans to visit these villages
in the near future and would try to photograph the homes for the family.
Thursday 27 September
During school patrol, Wendeln and Friesen saw soldiers at the Yatta Road
checkpoint slowly searching children's backpacks. Wendeln called for backup,
and Benvie and Gibb joined them. They documented incidents and took photos.
Soldiers detained two teachers from the Al Ibrahimmiyye Boys School for a
short period. Benvie showed them the letter in Hebrew explaining the
illegality of searching children (see Tuesday, October 25), but they would
not look at it.
Benvie, Friesen, and Uhler worked at Issa Amro's newly rented home in Tel
Rumeida, cleaning rooms, painting shutters, and installing a cyclone fence.
Gibb joined them at 5:30 p.m. to break the Ramadan fast at Hani Abu Haikel's
home nearby. (Muslims do not eat or drink during the daylight hours in the
month of Ramadan.) Then the group went to the Hanthala Caf