AL-KHALIL (HEBRON) URGENT ACTION: Prevent new settlement outpost, increased settler violence in Hebron

CPTnet
24 October 2012
AL-KHALIL (HEBRON) URGENT ACTION: Prevent new settlement outpost, increased settler violence in Hebron 

Since our 3 October report there have been a number of developments regarding the Al Rajabi Building in Hebron. On Tuesday, 16 October the Jerusalem District Court accepted the injunction to freeze the implementation of the 13 September ruling that the Israeli military and police must allow the settlers to move in within thirty days, until a final decision regarding the appeal at the Supreme Court. This decision means that the settlers should not be able to move into the building immediately as we had feared. It did however come at a cost, which is a 100,000NIS/ 26,115USD bond that has to be paid by the Palestinian owner of the building.

It is feared though that due to the early election that has been called in Israel, the court decision may be decided for political reasons rather than it being a fair trial. CPT is working closely with UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee (HRC) and others to stop settlers from occupying the building and to show the consequences for Palestinians the last time the settlers occupied the house. Palestinians in the West Bank face settler violence regularly. According to OCHA, “settler violence is a regular occurrence, targeting primarily Palestinian civilians and their property, but also IDF soldiers.” Such violence, OCHA points out, “is not random criminal activity; in most cases, it is ideology-driven, organized violence, the goal of which is to assert settler dominance over an area.” CPT Hebron believes that the settlers' intention to occupy the Al Rajabi building is motivated by this ideology which would create territorial continuity between the Kiryat Arba settlement and settlements in the center of the Old City. We fear this will lead to more detentions and greater restrictions of movement for Palestinians living in the area.

 
 

photo courtesy Land Research Center

CPT recently interviewed four families who live close to the Al Rajabi Building and Kiryat Arba settlement. All reported numerous experiences of harassment and violence from settlers living in the area since the inception of the Kiryat Arba. They expressed fear of this violence increasing if settlers were allowed to reoccupy the Al Rajabi Building. Their fear was based on their experience of increased settler violence when settlers occupied the building in 2007-2008.

One man told the CPTers, “in 2007 settlers took over a house in the area. They were violent and threw stones at Palestinians passing in order to scare them and make them move out of the area.”

A mother spoke of the problems she experienced. “During this time, settlers were violent towards us and our children. They burnt houses and tried to break into our home. I’m extremely nervous because the girls must walk past the Rajabi building in order to get to school.”

A father spoke out: “I recall that from about March 2007 to December 2008, there were frequent attacks from settlers to the Palestinian men, women and children.”

The families are asking for help in their cause: “We are pleading to all those that will listen to stop this. If settlers were to come back again we will face the same issues again. This time was very stressful for us, it put a strain on our family relations.”

The decision the courts reach about the Al Rajabi Building will greatly influence the future of the city of Hebron, particularly for these families. HRC and CPT have put together a statement along with a legal analysis of the proceedings. CPT Al-Khalil (Hebron) calls on supporters to share this information with people locally and to contact your Members of Parliament or Congress and other government officials about this issue.

SAMPLE TEXT FOR MESSAGE:

Dear _____,

The international community is gravely concerned about the effects of allowing settlers to reoccupy the Al Rajabi Building in Hebron, West Bank. In 2007 and 2008, when settlers last occupied this house, settler violence and disruptions to Palestinians in the area increased.

The four small settlements already inside Hebron have caused immense physical, social and economic suffering for local Palestinians. Another settlement would cause greater suffering and would work against the roadmap towards peace.

Please urge Israeli authorities to prevent the formation of a new Israeli settlement in Hebron’s Al-Rajabi Building.

Sincerely,

____

ADDRESSES

Canada:

Embassy in Tel Aviv -- The Canadian Embassy, PO Box 9442, Tel Aviv 67060, Israel. Fax: (011 972 3) 636-3380. Email: taviv@dfait-maeci.gc.ca

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Office of the Prime Minister, 80 Wellington Street, Ottawa, K1A 0A2. Fax: 613-941-6900 or Email: pm@pm.gc.ca

You can mail your MP at the House of Commons address, or find their email address, go to http://www.parl.gc.ca/information/about/people/house/PostalCode.asp?Source=SM

UK:

Embassy in Tel Aviv -- British Embassy, 192 Hayarkon Street, Tel Aviv 63405, Israel. Fax: (+972 3) 527 8574. Email: webmaster.telaviv@fco.gov.uk

Prime Minister David Cameron, 10 Downing Street, London SW1A 2AA. To email the Prime Minister go to http://www.number10.gov.uk/contact-us/

Foreign Secretary William Hague, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Downing Street West, London Sw1A 2AL

Mail your MP at the House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA. To email your MP, MSP or MEP go to http://www.writetothem.com/

USA:

Embassy in Tel Aviv -- US Embassy, 71 Hayarkon Street, Tel Aviv 63903, Israel

President Barack Obama, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500

Senators: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

Representatives: http://www.house.gov/