al-Khalil (Hebron)

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): A Week in Photos 15-22 March 2015

What does the Israeli military occupation of Palestine look like, apart from all the analysis and political speeches?  Take a look:

 


HARASSMENT IN THE MARKET

 

Pictured here: Israeli soldiers harassed this young boy in the market, surrounding him, interrogating him, and refusing to let him leave. Unfortunately, these intimidation tactics are much too common in Hebron's old city. 
(16/03/2015)

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Stop the Hebron Fund! New resource available.



Every Saturday, Israeli and foreign tourists gather in Hebron’s Old City for a tour that presents a false and racist history of Hebron and denies the legacy of Muslims and Jews living together for centuries. The tour is accompanied by dozens of Israeli soldiers and Border Police, who ID check and detain Palestinians. In December 2014, soldiers detained thirty-nine Palestinians, including fourteen children, and thereby preventing them from leaving or returning to their homes. Between December 2014 and March 19, 2015, soldiers invaded thirty-five homes, mostly to use these families’ rooftops as lookout posts. Settlers and tourists frequently chant as they walk through Palestinian neighborhoods, and sometimes yell threats at local children.

Nonviolent resistance to this invasion occurs every week. Palestinians who live in the neighborhood refuse to be bullied into staying off the streets. Many document the tour with their phones and video cameras.

We at Christian Peacemaker Teams – Palestine started a petition just over a month ago, demanding that the Hebron Fund, the group that organizes these tours, cease this weekly harassment of Palestinian neighborhoods. To date we have collected over 450 signatures.

Now, we are calling on all people to cease donations to the Hebron Fund. Many synagogues in the United States, and some churches, make donations to the Hebron Fund. Many do not know the full extent of what their money does. We have produced a pamphlet that helps explain who the Hebron Fund is and the damage they cause in Hebron’s Old City.

You can download the half-sheet individually HERE, or in a print-ready format HERE.

Prayers for Peacemakers, March 25, 2015

Prayers for Peacemakers, March 25, 2015

Pray for the children of Al Saraya kindergarten in Hebron, who must walk past Israeli military personnel and settlers to get to school near the Il-Ibrahimi Mosque.   In 2000, ninety-five children attended the kindergarten.  Now, because of settler and soldier harassment, only fifteen children remain at the school.  The International Red Crescent recently asked CPT to start accompanying the children on their walk to school, and several weeks ago, two CPTers were arrested while doing so.

 

 *Epixel for Sunday, March 29, 2015

[H]e who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together.
Who are my adversaries? Let them confront me. It is the Lord GOD who helps me; who
 will declare me guilty? Isaiah 50:8-9a

 *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): A Week in Photos 8-14 March 2015

Below are some of the the CPT Palestine team's best photos for the week of 8-14 March.  A link to their page, with aids to signing up for their social media is available here.  Be a part of showing the the world the true face of Israel's military occupation of Palestine.

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON) REFLECTION: They seek to live freely, not to die bravely

I heard the bullet slam into the metal door up the street, and turned to look at my teammate with confusion—was that really a bullet? —when several rubber bullets came skipping up the street and stopped near my feet. At that moment, I realized that I would hate telling this story to friends in the United States.

The responses would be predictable‑“You’re crazy!” “You’re so brave!”

We were accompanying the annual Open Shuhada Street demonstration Shuhada Street, once the main market street in the old city of Hebron, is a desolate ghost town since the Israeli military closed it to Palestinians in the late 1990s, as punishment for protesting the massacre of 29 Muslim Palestinians in the Ibrahimi Mosque. Every year, Palestinians and international supporters gather to demand that the Israeli military open the street and allow Palestinians to move freely in the city. Every year, they are met by brutal, violent repression.

As I walked over to pick up the rubber bullet, I looked across the street and saw several young Palestinian men my age, trying to decide if it was worth attempting to march down the street or not. And at that moment, I understood why I would hate telling this story. The truth is, I’m actually scared of a lot of things—bullets, heights, snakes, big spiders, etc. I am very sure that I would not be out protesting if I was a young Palestinian man, growing up with constant military harassment, family arrested and tortured, friends killed, economic strangulation. I felt safer on that street because of my CPT hat and my international passport.

We can always find someone braver than us, someone who is sacrificing more. And often people do not sacrifice by choice, and they are brave because their very existence is resistance and there is no third option between resistance and death. Those of us who do not face this choice can find ourselves seeking moments of bravery, opportunities to prove our toughness by facing down the forces of violence‑the white/male/middle-class/USAmerican Savior Complex.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus is asked to come heal Lazarus. This would mean traveling to Judea, where the political leaders want Jesus dead. He holds off for a bit, but when he decides to go, Thomas says, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

Thomas wants to be brave. He identifies the movement Jesus is building as about bravely facing death (unlike Peter, who at other points thinks that Jesus is an idiot for saying he will die, cf. Matthew 16). Thomas sees Jesus’ death as the central focus. Thomas would do well in a conservative evangelical church.

But this is not the story in John 11. Jesus does head down to Judea, and Lazarus has been dead for four days. If the point is a brave death, Jesus could have just sat down and waited for the political leadership to show up and kill him. Instead, he weeps with his friends in the death of their friend, he goes with them to the tomb, he asks for the stone to be rolled away, he prays, and Lazarus is raised from death. And then Jesus says this: “Unbind him, and let him go.”  Jesus frees Lazarus from the power of death.

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON) REFLECTION: Walking the broken path

The border police argued with my teammate about permission to walk the paved “settler path.”  Sound bombs and tear gas were exploding at Salaymeh, a checkpoint nearby. According to the soldiers, we could walk on the same path that the settlers could, but the boys and girls with us could only walk on the adjacent rocky path.

Palestinian children walking with CPTer
on unpaved side of road, while settler
walks on paved side

Border police uttered Hebrew words through his radio. My teammate engaged the soldier. The children looked afraid. I pulled out notebook and pen, got down on my knees, and started drawing.

“Pintemos un payaso,” I told them, knowing the children would not understand. First the head, then the nose, eyes, ears, hair. I drew a clown.

One of the girls smiled timidly and told me something in Arabic.

“No te entiendo, pero pintemos otro payaso,” “I don’t understand, but let’s draw another clown.”

I started again: head, nose, eyes, ears, hair. My drawings amused the girls. They giggled. The boys pretended not to be interested, but peeked discreetly so they could still see my art.

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): CPTers arrested while accompanying Palestinian kindergarteners in Hebron

On Sunday Israeli Border Police arrested two CPT members while they were walking Palestinian children from kindergarten just after noon. The CPTers were taken to the police station near the Ibrahimi Mosque, then moved to a police station in the Givat Ha'avot settlement, and finally released at 5:20 p.m. Israeli police did not press formal charges.

For several weeks, members of CPT Palestine have  accompanied children from the Al Saraya Kindergarten, who face harassment from Israeli Border Police, Israeli soldiers, and settlers during their walk to and from school every day. Part of their walk to school is on a road that the Israeli military has declared partially off-limits to Palestinians, including young children. Since CPT began accompanying the kindergarten students, border police have stopped the children several times and told them that they may not walk on the street for security reasons, but have allowed them to pass on other occasions.

 …

It is not clear if these recent provocations are a part of a larger ramping up of the occupation of the West Bank. Its not clear what will happen in the upcoming days, either for CPT or for the children of the Al Saraya Kindergarten. Please pray for everyone in the Old City of Hebron who is affected by this continual and increasing violence. 


AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Palestine team begins accompaniment of kindergarteners near Ibrahimi Mosque


The Red Crescent Kindergarten School is fully equipped for the four-year-old children who will begin their education: carpeted floors, multiple roomsfor playing and learning, as well as all the supplies needed to teach and entertain children. Most importantly, the school has caring teachers dedicated to their young pupils.

In 2000, the kindergarten had ten teachers and ninety students, but now only has three teachers and fifteen students. The school is in a particularly vulnerable location: immediately adjacent to the Ibrahimi Mosque and the Tomb of the Patriarchs, which is surrounded by Israeli Border Police. Due to constant soldier and settler harassment, parents in the nearby neighbourhoods are hesitant to send their children to the school. In response to this harassment and the effect it has had on the school children, the principal of the Red Crescent Kindergarten asked CPT to begin escorting the children to and from school.

One form of structural violence that the four-year-olds must face on their way to school is a divided path by the Ibrahimi Mosque. On one side of a tall fence is a wide, paved path for Israeli settlers, and on the other is a narrow, rocky path for Palestinians.  Israeli Border Police have recently begun to deny these kindergarten students the right to walk on the “settler path.”

Prayers for Peacemakers, 25 February 2015

Prayers for Peacemakers, 25 February 2015

Pray for the people of Hebron.  25 February 2014 marks the twenty-first anniversary of the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre, when a U.S.-born Israeli settler murdered twenty-nine Muslim men and boys while they prayed there. The Israeli military killed and injured dozens more Palestinians in the demonstrations that followed, imposed a strict 100-day curfew, and, among many more punitive responses on the Palestinian population of Hebron began a process that led to illegally restricting them from accessing Shuhada Street.  This week, there will be several nonviolent demonstrations protesting the closing of Shuhada Street. Pray for the safety of demonstrators, as Israeli soldiers will likely respond with tear gas, sound bombs, and violent arrests. Pray for the safety of all people in the Old City, as Israeli military oppression brings collective punishment to shop owners, families, and young children. Pray for the CPT Hebron Team who will be in the demonstrations.

 *Epixel for Sunday, March 1, 2015
 For he did not despise or abhor the affliction of the afflicted; he did not hide his face from me, but heard
when I cried to him. Psalm 22:24
 
 *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): First of Open Shuhada Street actions kicks off on 20 February 2015

 

Despite the heavy snow and the cold weather, Palestinians of Hebron gathered on Friday 20 February to remember those killed in the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre and demand the opening of Shuhada Street.

On 25 February 1994, Baruch Goldstein, a US-born Israeli settler, walked into the Ibrahimi Mosque and murdered 29 men while they prayed.  Israeli forces killed an additional 29 Palestinians during demonstrations, and subsequently restricted Palestinian access to Shuhada Street, a major market street in the Old City.  Shuhada Street has been permanently closed to Palestinians since 2006.  Palestinians in Hebron live with the effects of these actions every day.