Palestine

Applies to CPTnet releases from Palestine projects

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Israeli military’s use of teargas, rubber-coated bullets forces schools to close

Over the course of two days last week, the Israeli military’s response to a few boys throwing stones toward the Qitoun/209 and Salimeh/29 checkpoints was so excessive the principals of the seven schools near those checkpoints canceled school for the hundreds of children that attend those institutions. On 10 December at checkpoint 209, through which 183 children and fifty-two adults passed from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m., the teargas was so potent from two teargas canisters fired by Israeli border police that a twelve-year-old boy who opened a window at the school andinhaled the teargas—fired approximately 250m away—suffered extremely adverse effects.  Teachers called an ambulance and decided to close the school to avoid more harm to children from the gas.  An ambulance came after approximately twenty-five minutes, delayed by the physical obstacles of occupation such as checkpoints and the apartheid laws governing Palestinian vehicular access in H2 Hebron.  A CPTer who was there said, “sitting with and attempting to soothe the boy, who was scared, unable to breathe properly, and unable to open his eyes, broke my heart.”

AL KHALIL (HEBRON): Israeli settlers stab Palestinian boy on his family’s land

Moad Al Rajabi after
receiving treatment at
hospital

On 8 December 2014, Israeli settlers attacked seventeen-year-old Palestinian boy, Moad Al Rajabi on his family land in Bani Naim, on the outskirts of Al-Khalil/Hebron.  He was sitting with his father, Noah Al Rajabi, and two of his cousins when settler cars stopped nearby.  As seven settlers exited the cars and came towards them, Noah ran away with his two nephews, believing that his son was also with him.  He soon realised his son was not there, and turned to see seventeen-year-old Moad encircled by the settlers. 

The seven were stabbing Moad, but fled as Noah ran back in a bid to rescue his son from the assault.  Moad required hospitalization to treat the stab wounds, one of which penetrated to the bones in the hand; the other was on his thigh.  He is now stable, and the hospital hopes to discharge him later today. 

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Israeli military attacks nonviolent demonstration protesting closure of Checkpoint 56

At a demonstration to protest the closure of Checkpoint 56 in Hebron on Saturday 29 November 2014, a torrent of teargas and sound grenades rained down from Israeli forces, who were occupying rooftops above Bab iZaweyya.  Leading onto the small section of Shuhada street on which Palestinians are allowed to walk, Checkpoint 56 connects Bab iZaweyya (the commercial district which marks the boundary between Israeli-controlled H2 and Palestinian Authority governed H1 areas) to the neighbourhood of Tel Rumeida.  Last week the checkpoint was set on fire during clashes, and the checkpoint has been closed by Israeli forces ever since.  This act of collective punishment forces the families living in Tel Rumeida walk an extra hour—or that they walk through the residences and gardens of other Palestinians—to reach their own homes.  These families therefore organised a nonviolent demonstration to protest this closure because it is another example of the daily harassment and routine restriction of the rights and movement of Palestinians living under occupation.

Video footage of the demonstration taken by CPT is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hhfv9sz8xh0&feature=youtu.be

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON) REFLECTION: Practicing gratitude in the middle of it all

Around the world today, non-profits, NGOs, families, businesses, community centers, and individuals around the world come together for one common purpose. Christian Peacemaker Teams is here in Hebron in solidarity with local partners whose safety, homes and livelihoods are threatened by the Israeli military occupation. Will you contribute $55 today for #GivingTuesday? With just 365 people giving $55 each, we can cover the cost of one peacemaker in the field for a year. #BeTheChange

Just $55 supports a peacemaker in the field for a day. 

Thousand-year-old olive tree overlooking the
city of Hebron.

In the U.S., the end of November means the celebration of Thanksgiving.  Here in Hebron, we may sometimes ask:  For what can we possibly be thankful? We see teargas lobbed at children regularly, men and boys detained daily, frequent harassment of Palestinians.  Violence.  Hopelessness.

It is in places like Hebron where we must practice gratitude, where we must not let the bad that we see eclipse the good—that, against all odds—abounds.  For how can we possibly harness and share goodness if we are unable even to recognize it around us?

And so we, the current CPT Palestine team, offer the following—the places and times where light breaks through darkness, where hope conquers hopelessness, where love wins over hatred, fear, and apathy: 

CPT INTERNATIONAL REFLECTION: Treasure in Ferguson, Colombia, Palestine, Iraqi Kurdistan, and Turtle Island

Since a St. Louis, Missouri prosecutor and Grand Jury have determined that Police Officer Darren Wilson killing unarmed teenager Michael Brown did not merit a trial, I have been busy tweeting #Ferguson on the Christian Peacemaker Team Twitter account.  Those tweets have been getting a lot of retweets.  We have no people working in Ferguson and I have asked myself why I am inundating the account. 

I think it has to do with the disposability of human life, with the contempt shown to Michael Brown when the authorities left his body in the street for four and a half hours and did not bother interviewing key witnesses to the shooting for weeks (until there was a public outcry.)  That contempt connected directly with our work in Colombia, Iraqi Kurdistan, Palestine, with indigenous communities in North America, and with migrants in Europe.  In all these cases, people in power have deemed the people we work with disposable. 

Prayers for Peacemakers, November 26, 3014

Prayers for Peacemakers, November 26, 3014

Pray for the Palestinian children who must attend schools in and around the Old City of Hebron.  Because of recent unrest in the region, the Israeli military has employed even more excessive use of teargas and sound bombs when the children walk to school.

Epixel for Sunday, November 30, 2014
O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at
your presence--
Isaiah 64:1
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing with a text from the upcoming Sunday's  
Revised Common Lectionary  readings.

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Israeli military and settlers close down Old City of Hebron to Palestinians

An Israeli settler screams at young Palestinians in the court yard of
the Old City of Hebron.

Every Saturday a group of Israeli settlers and Jewish tourists, escorted by dozens of Israeli soldiers, parade through the Old City on a tour, in which they hear an exclusive rightwing Jewish narrative of the city's history.  Last Saturday, however, was a holiday commemorating Abraham’s purchase of land in Hebron to bury his wife Sarah, so an unusually large number of Israeli settlers, Jewish tourists (many from New York), and Israeli border police and soldiers were present.  For nearly three hours, hundreds of Israeli settlers and occupying forces overtook the Old City, restricting Palestinians' freedom of movement and causing shops to close early. 

While a normal Saturday tour means restriction of Palestinian movement and disruption of the lives of those living and working in the Old City, last Saturday’s holiday tour created greater disruptions.  The Ibrahimi Mosque was closed, which meant that not only could Muslims not pray there, but that the checkpoint leading to it was closed.  When the checkpoint is closed, Palestinians have to take much more circuitous (and hilly) routes from one side of the mosque to the other, adding time and difficulty to daily tasks.

The settlers and tourists, many of whom were young men, danced, jumped, and chanted Israeli nationalistic slogans as they slowly made their way through the Old City, blocking passage for residents and creating noise that interfered with any sense of normalcy.

As CPTers and representatives from other NGOs stood along the route, settlers and tourists questioned them, sometimes aggressively, about their presence and work and accused them of anti-semitism.  One tourist threatened to hit a CPTer; another asked a CPTer to take a picture and then threatened to break the camera (which he'd already tried to handle as he passed by).  A number of tourists said to observers, "Welcome to Israel," though no country in the world recognizes the Palestinian Occupied Territories as part of the nation of Israel.

SOUTH HEBRON HILLS: Road to Resistance—Palestinians repair thoroughfare in nonviolent action

On Saturday, 15 November 2014 the South Hebron Hills Popular Committee (a nonviolent Palestinian organisation resisting occupation in the South Hebron Hills region), coordinated an action to develop the road that connects the city of Yatta to At-Tuwani and surrounding villages located in the area Israel has designated Firing Zone 918.  Under the watchful eyes of the Israeli military and police, the action was attended by members of the South Hebron Hills Popular Committee, residents of At-Tuwani, Israeli peace activists from Ta’ayush, and internationals from Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and EAPPI.

The unpaved road that runs between villages and the town of Yatta is the access route that Palestinians travel for employment, education, water, healthcare, and other necessities of life.  Surrounded by the tarmacked roads developed by the Israeli state for the settlers living illegally in the area, the rubble and holes in the Palestinian roads illustrate the stark inequalities of power that characterise the Israeli occupation, and the specific context of the South Hebron Hills and Firing Zone 918. 

UNITED STATES REFLECTION: Voting for peace

Yesterday, I was calling old friends and letting them know I’d be in town to talk about my work with Christian Peacemaker Teams. One friend asked me how I like my new work in comparison with the political organizing I used to do. I didn’t need to stop and think; the answer was easy. Working to gather votes for this issue or that candidate, I had feelings of emptiness and inevitability. Now, I love being able to apply my expertise, energy, and passion to peacemaking, to resistance work that feeds my soul. 

 

 
 Palestine team member stands with children on
street and monitors soldiers' treatment of
13-year-old boy
 

Today, I woke up and reached for my phone. What I saw was a newsfeed flooded with rage, sadness, even despair. I remember those post-election nights and days from my previous career. When the first issue campaign I worked on lost, I cried more than a few bitter tears.  

When I woke up today, though, my emotional state was not connected to election results beyond passing feelings of hope and disappointment.  I woke up with energy and conviction to resist violence, oppression, and injustice for another day. It’s not that it doesn’t matter to me whether it’s politician A or B with their hands in the gears of the U.S. system.  Decisions made in the U.S. impact the bodies and lives of people and communities in the States and around the world.  It’s that now I’ve joined with so many in the active, concrete work of ongoing peacemaking.  And CPT, standing with our partners to transform violence and oppression, was resisting yesterday, is resisting today, and will be resisting tomorrow. 

Peacemakers, activists, resisters of injustice, whatever your feelings about today’s elections results: you can join today in our transformative peacemaking work. Vote for peace today by investing in the work of CPT. Thanks to you, members of CPT stand in solidarity with partners in peaceful transformative resistance every day in Palestine, Iraqi Kurdistan, Colombia, and Canada, no matter the U.S. election results any given November Tuesday.

Please make a donation today - over 80% of our income comes from donors like you.  

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Israeli military arrests two boys, eleven and thirteen, in Hebron

On Sunday, 26 October at approximately 7:45 a.m., Israeli border police detained and arrested an eleven-year-old Palestinian boy in the Qitoun area of H2 (under full Israeli military control) during the morning school patrol. 

The Israeli soldier grabbed the young boy by wrapping his hand in the collar of his shirt and twisting his clothing tightly around the neck, despite the fact that the young Palestinian showed no signs of resisting.

After several minutes of Palestinian adults pleading with the soldier to release his grip, the soldier finally responded and escorted him to the police station next to the Ibrahimi Mosque without notifying his parents.

The boy remained at the police station for over an hour and a half, after which the soldier informed one of the schoolteachers that police would hand him over to the Palestinian Authority at Check Point 56 at Bab iZaweyya, in the H1 section of Hebron.  Once the child was in the military jeep by himself, instead of taking him to Checkpoint 56, the Israeli soldiers transported him to the other side of Hebron to the police station at the Israeli settlement* of Kiryat Arba.