27 March 2008
HEBRON: Israeli soldiers and settlers invade Palestinian home in Old City
[Note: According to the Geneva Conventions, the International Court of Justice in the Hague, and numerous United Nations resolutions, all Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are illegal.]
On Wednesday, 19 March 2008, Israeli soldiers violently evicted the Egnabe family from their home in Hebron Old City. Israeli police arrested the father, Muhammad Egnabe, and B'Tselem* field worker Issa Amro, who was filming the eviction. The children cried and screamed as the Israeli forces threw the family’s furniture out of the house.
The Egnabes told CPT that their family has owned the building for 1000 years. They had recently moved from another part of the building into a new home that the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee (http://www.hebronrc.org/) had helped them renovate. The building is near the Israeli settlement of Avraham Avinu and both Israeli settlers and soldiers have harassed the family over a number of years.
CPT members Mary Wendeln and JoAnne Lingle joined other international human rights workers at the Egnabe home and saw two members of the Hebron Israeli settler community and a group of fifteen to twenty Israeli soldiers there. Lingle also observed other Israeli soldiers posted on the nearby rooftops. Wendeln asked an Israeli soldier why the settlers were allowed in the family home, but he refused to answer her or to remove the settlers. After approximately an hour, the settlers and soldiers left, but a different group of Israeli soldiers came along with members of the Israeli police. After talking with the Israeli soldiers, Egnabe asked the international activists to leave his home and they complied. The police then arrested Egnabe; the Israeli forces evicted the other members of the family and welded closed the doors of the home.
Both Egnabe and Amro were released before midnight.
Since the eviction, the entire Egnabi family has been living in one room in their building, which previously served as a bypass to the stairs that lead to their home. The Israeli military presented the family with an order declaring their upper story home a "closed military zone." On the morning of 20 March, the day after the eviction, the Egnabis' seven year-old daughter Yasmin saw Israeli settlers on the roof. Shortly after, she saw Israeli soldiers turn the settlers back.
The military order dated 29 March expires after fourteen days (2 April). If during that time anyone goes on the roof, the Israeli military will fine him/her 2000 shekels and imprison him/her for one year. The Israeli commander implied to the family that if an international went to the roof, the Egnabi family would face consequences.
The Hebron municipality provided mattresses and blankets for the family. CPT and other internationals and neighbors have been visiting daily. Palestinian neighbors have also given the family household items to replace those locked in their upstairs dwelling.
To see video footage of the Egnabi eviction click on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BsFJ6FBY2Eo
For further information on the larger strategy of removing Palestinians from the Old City, see the recent report from the Israeli human rights organization B’tselem at http://www.btselem.org/English/Hebron/.
For photos of the invasion and eviction go to: http://www.cpt.org/gallery/album240