On the morning of 31 December 2009, the Israeli military, using a small Bobcat bulldozer, destroyed buildings belonging to the Sultan and al-Za'atari families in the Hebron neighborhood of al-Bweireh. At the al-Za'atari house, the military destroyed a dovecote and the stables where the family kept their goats and horse. The army then destroyed a mechanic’s shop/garage, where a member of the Sultan family fixed farm equipment and compressors.
CPTer Kathleen Kern and an EAPPI (Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel) volunteer went out to al-Bweireh to investigate after a local human rights activist informed them of the demolitions. They arrived just after the demolition of the Sultans’ garage was finishing. Border police, civilian police, and the operators of the demolition equipment were laughing and joking with each other as they loaded the Bobcat on the flatbed truck.
The al-Za’atari family reported that three days earlier, settlers along with soldiers were photographing the buildings that were destroyed. When CPTers and a Palestinian co-worker made a follow-up visit to the neighborhood on Saturday, 2 January, people told them they believed that settlers were telling the Israeli military to demolish their buildings.
Al-Bweireh lies next to the Israeli settlement of Givat Ha Harsina. A settlement outpost, which the Israeli government has deemed illegal and has dismantled several times, sits on Hill 18 (26) overlooking the Za’atari home and is a source of constant harassment. Lately, the settlers have crossed the road and come into the yards of neighborhood homes. A member of the Sultan family said that the settlers from the outpost often attack while the men of the neighborhood are away during the day, and when she hears the women of the al-Za’atari family screaming, she feels that all she can do is watch from the window and cry.
In the last month, residents of al-Bweireh invited members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams and EAPPI to accompany their children as they return home from school, because settlers have often attacked them as they walked by Givat Ha Harsina and the outpost.
To see a map of the area, click here