[I gather that Hebron is one of the more egregious Israeli settlement arrangements which causes great disruption in the lives of a major West Bank city of nearly 200,000 for the sake of a small colony of hostile settlers. The conflicts and killings have been going on there since the settlement was put in place. It is obviously a candidate for retraction as was the Gaza equivalent:

http://www.antiwar.com/hacohen/h021903.html

However, here is the author’s website:

http://voicesofisrael.com/hacohen.html

I can’t vouch for this particular unflattering account, but it accords with all that I have seen previously. Choose your own accounts as you prefer, but the numbers remain.

The Christian Peace Teams are staffed by peace churches per the website at the conclusion of their report here. They try to resolve conflicts peacefully wherever they arise around the world.

Ed Kent]

……………………..

Hebron Update: 18-24 February 2007

On team during this period: Janet Benvie, Barbara Martens, Abigail Ozanne, Dianne Roe, and Jerry Stein.

Sunday 18 February

Abigail Ozanne, when returning from a walk, saw a soldier showing a patrol of new soldiers through the souk.

Monday 19 February

At around 10am, a Palestinian from Hebron Rehabilitation Committee called to say that settlers were trying to destroy a mosque in the old vegetable market. Ozanne, Dianne Roe and Jerry Stein responded. The Palestinians in the souk seemed very nervous and angry. The CPTers joined Palestinians, journalists, and TIPH on a roof over looking the old vegetable market.

In the market, about 45-50 settlers were trying to get past 30-35 Israeli police to get to the Al Aqbat mosque and also to get into the souk. One settler used a microphone to broadcast his views and prayers. Other settlers engaged the police in angry discussions.

Ozanne and Stein, after seeing a group of settlers run to another part of the market, left to find out where the settlers had gone. At gates 4&5, Ozanne could see settlers trying to get past several squads of soldiers and into the old city. After a few minutes, the settlers left. A squad of soldiers ran out gates 4&5 and through the souk. They went up on the roof that the Palestinians had been watching from and cleared the roof of people. Some settlers were still in the market but the situation seemed much more quiet. The CPTers returned to the apartment just before noon. By that point the settlers had left.

Tuesday 20 February

Janet Benvie and Ozanne walked up Shuhada Street without incident during afternoon patrol. Two Palestinian women and a young girl tried several times to walk past the checkpoint down from the Ibrahimi Mosque. A settler was nearby waiting for a ride and a settler was in a car a few meters down the street. As long as they were there, the soldiers kept the women from walking towards the girls’ school. When the settlers left, soldiers allowed the women to continue.

Wednesday 21 February

On school patrol, the team met a video crew from the Palestinian Department of Education from Ramallah arriving to video the children going through the checkpoint. Soon about eight soldiers congregated, insisting the crew could not film. Barbara Martens talked to one of them and kept saying it is lawful for anyone to photograph soldiers when they are active in their duties. Finally the soldiers left. Two returned to hassle the principal by asking for his documents.

Martens met with Palestinians about a project proposal for the Sports Program for Street Kids. Hebron Mental Health agreed to fund a football (soccer) team of 10-12 year olds.

Ozanne and Stein went with a Palestinian to visit families in Wadi Ghroos. They visited a woman and her family. Their home backs on the fence of Harsina settlement. In 2002, a Palestinian tried to enter the settlement through the fence near it. The army killed the Palestinian. Then they built a second fence farther out from the settlement, effectively annexing many dunums of Palestinian farmland in the name of security. The family now cannot access five dunums, which is the majority of their land.

The family explained that they have problems with settlers every Saturday. The settler children come and throw stones from the other side of the fence. They have broken many windows. The fence is wired with sensors so that the settler security and police know if anyone touches it. Then they send police or security to find out what happened and cause trouble for the family. There are hidden cameras in the lights by the fence. A security guard drives by every half hour. The parents no longer allow the children to play in what is left of their back garden to keep them away from the fence.

Friday 23 February

Benvie and Ozanne went with Heidi Schramm and Sean O’Neill of the Tuwani team to Bil’in for the weekly demonstration. This week’s demonstration marked the second anniversary of weekly demonstrations against the separation barrier. See February 26 CPTnet release HEBRON/BIL’IN: “I’m Ok”–CPTer lightly injured by grenade at Friday demonstration. View photos at http://www.cpt.org/gallery/album02.

Saturday 24 February

On school patrol on Shuhada Street near the Ibrahimi School, a group of settler boys between the ages of 10 and 14 swarmed a Palestinian student of about 13 or 14 right near the Gutnick Center checkpoint. Fortunately the soldiers from the checkpoint immediately intervened, pulling one settler boy away, as Benvie and Martens ran up to get in the way. The soldiers walked with the settler boys again needing to intervene to prevent a 10 year old from attacking another Palestinian schoolboy who had just crossed Shuhada Street.

Benvie and Stein went with a translator to visit families in Beqa’a valley. The International Committee of the Red Cross held a meeting a few days ago to talk with the families whose homes were threatened with demolition. The CPTers went to renew contact with known families and also to find out more about threats of home demolition. They met several families who have lived under the threat of home demolition for five years. A large extended family lives in one home, with a family of eight living in one room. They have saved enough money to build their own home, but are afraid to do so in case it is then demolished.

In the mid afternoon, ISM requested that the team come to Shuhada Street near the checkpoint, because settler youth were attacking a Palestinian woman, and an ISMer who moved between. Roe and Martens responded, but by the time they arrived near Tel Rumeida, the soldiers had managed to disperse the settlers. One ISMer was detained by the police but later released. Three settlers were spotted in the garden of a Palestinian home, and the four went up to check. The settlers were no longer in the garden.

Christian Peacemaker Teams is an ecumenical initiative to support violence reduction efforts around the world. To learn more about CPT’s peacemaking work, visit our website www.cpt.org Photos of our projects are at www.cpt.org/gallery A map of the center of Hebron is at http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/fullMaps_Sa.nsf/0/5618737E38C0B3DE8525708C004BA584/$File/ocha_OTS_hebron_oPt010805.pdf?OpenElement The same map is the last page of this report on closures in Hebron: www.humanitarianinfo.org/opt/docs/UN/OCHA/ochaHU0705_En.pdf

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent 718-951-5324 (voice mail only) [blind copies]
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