al-Khalil (Hebron)

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Revenge devoid of purpose—punitive demolitions of Palestinian homes


 If Israel’s assault on Gaza this summer has been blind, primal violence on a macro scale, the demolition of three Palestinian apartment blocks in Hebron during the early hours of 18 August 2014—punitive retaliation against the suspected culprits in the kidnapping of three Israeli youth in June—represented pointless violence and suffering on a micro scale.  Yet that micro event, multiplied thousands of times over the days, weeks and years of occupation, adds up to what has been called “incremental genocide” in the sense of destroying a culture and its ability to survive.

Between 2001-2005, according to B’tselem figures, Israel demolished 664 Palestinian homes as forms of punishment.*  These demolitions displaced 4,182 innocent people, many of them neighbors of the suspect’s family, and occurred often on the basis of suspicion alone.

Hussam al-Qawasmi house (Photo: Yousef Natsheh)

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Israeli Military displaces family, stones observers, shuts down Old City for midnight settler tour

In the first week of August, the Israeli military added to the normal hardships people who live in and around the area of Hebron’s Old City must endure.

On 1 August 2014, the Israeli military occupied the rooftop of the al-Rajabi house in Jebal Johar near the Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba at approximately 6 p.m.  According witnesses, the Israeli soldiers left the rooftop at around 7:00 p.m. and fired five tear gas grenades into the home, setting the interior into flames.  The result was a total loss of the family’s personal items. 

 Seven Palestinians live in the home. Five children, four boys and girl are now homeless. 

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Settlers break into Palestinian shops

n 30 July 2014, Israelis entered into Palestinian shops in Hebron’s Old City near Beit Hadassah with industrial tools, using cutting blades and torches to open the doors, despite the presence of Israeli military security who were overlooking the shops.

Christian Peacemaker Teams and the International Solidarity Movement volunteers made several attempts to advise the Israeli military and police to intervene on the breaking and entering into the Palestinian shops. Despite showing the Israeli military video evidence of the account, the police failed to show up and intervene.

The following day, Israeli settler children during the afternoon threw rocks down from the Beit Hadassah settlement onto Palestinians walking on the street below the settlement. Later on that night, settlers again re-entered the property despite the Israeli military having designated the area a closed military zone for Israeli settlers and Palestinians alike.


Settler jumps on awning after throwing stones at Palestinians
and internationals

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON) REFLECTION: Gaza and the end of Ramadan in Hebron

 

 
 Israeli soldiers monitor Friday Ramadan Prayers

The streets of Hebron were unusually quiet on the 26th night of Ramadan.  These are the final days of holiest time of the year in Islam.  As we stood at the entrance to the Ibrahimi Mosque we noticed that the numbers of worshippers were significantly down from a year ago.  A year ago we also saw more venders selling falafels, pastries, corn, tea, coffee, juice, ice cream and kabobs.  A year ago so many people flowed through the streets of Hebron’s Old City to attend the Mosque services or to shop, that walking was difficult.

This year, perhaps out of fear, people were at home watching the news on TV.  (We heard that in Jerusalem there are fewer numbers also on the streets of and worshipping in the mosques this month.)  At Bab iZawya on this night, we found a small crowd of young and middle aged men who had showed up even though no demonstration had been called for that scheduled.  At 2:00 a.m., they were still standing around, looking as though they were waiting for something to happen.  Every now and then, a boy threw a stone and ducked for cover.

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Demonstrators gather in Hebron to protest violence in Gaza




20 July 2014 Twitter @NasserBI

On Sunday, 20 July 2014, Hebron’s Youth Against Settlements, call for a demonstration in Bab i-Zawiya to protest the ongoing military action in Gaza and the escalating ground offensive by Israeli troops.  Cities all over the world held similar demonstrations condemning Israeli actions in Gaza.  Hundreds showed up for the Hebron protest.  It began at about 9:00 p.m. and was still going strong at 2:00 a.m.

Police responded to the demonstrators with live bullets, hitting at least two people, sound bombs, and tear gas in a running battle.  Some of the participants in the demonstration fought back with rocks, fireworks, burning tires, and slingshots.  Ambulances and medical technicians went back and forth to the hospital for hours, transporting the injured.  

Someone who did not want to be identified lamented,  “What are Palestinians to do?” he said, “We have no basic citizenship rights.  We have no basic protection guaranteed by the state. Our status as citizens has been clearly defined. We are not citizens. There is little or no protection from Israel, and the unrestrained among Palestinians may even create problems for the rest of us.”

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): CPT Palestine responds to incidents occurring after teenagers’ bodies discovered

Upon the announcement that the bodies of Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Fraenkel had been found, the Israeli military closed the Halhul area for about two hours and arrived at the homes of the two Palestinian suspects Amer Abu Eisha and Marwan al-Qawasmeh in northwest Hebron.

As CPT was arriving on the scene, the military presence was growing.  Many Palestinians were also gathering in the neighborhood.  As the crowd grew, the military attempted to disperse the Palestinian onlookers with tear gas and sound grenades.  The crowd retreated, slowly came back, and the routine repeated a number of times without serious injuries.

At about 10:00 p.m., CPT received a call from our partners, ISM (International Solidarity Movement) that settlers from the Tel Rumeida were in the streets attacking Palestinians and internationals.  CPTers left the clashes around the suspects’ homes to monitor the situation in Tel Rumeida.  When they arrived, settlers attacked them, but CPTers did not sustain serious injuries.  As CPTers monitored the situation above Tel Rumeida, the Border Police contingent grew rapidly.  In a quick burst, they stormed the hill towards the gathered crowd of Palestinians and internationals, exploding a sound grenade.  The crowd scattered. In the clash with the military, a soldier hit a Palestinian with the butt of his gun, causing an injury for which he received treatment at a local hospital.

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Christian Peacemaker Teams condemns murders

CPTnet
1 July 2014
AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Christian Peacemaker Teams condemns murders





The bodies of three yeshiva students, feared kidnapped on 12 June 2014 were found on the evening of 30 June 2014.  The missing teens, Eyal Yifrah, age 19, Gilad Shaar, age 16 and Naftali Fraenkel, age 16 were found near the town of Halhul, just north of Hebron.  This location is not far from the place that the students were thought to have been kidnapped.  CPT strongly condemns these, and all murders, and we weep with the families of all who have lost loved ones, both Israeli and Palestinian, since the news of the kidnapping. 

In addition to killing at least five Palestinians since the news of the kidnappings, the Israeli military has imprisoned hundreds without charge, raided and vandalized hundreds of homes, some repeatedly, and demolished two homes.  This response to the horrific murders of the yeshiva students will not bring peace, but only more turmoil and violence.  Lord have mercy.

What the Palestine team has observed happening in the Hebron area during the last twenty-four hours will follow shortly.




Israeli military bombs the home belonging to
the family of alleged murder suspect

Chaser Marwan Saadi Qawasmi

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Hijacking a kidnapping, Part II

The public so far knows very little outside of the alleged time that Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel, and Eyal Yifrach were kidnapped.  But what we do know is the absolute mayhem the Israeli military has spread throughout the Hebron district among innocent families.  Additionally, routine night raids, day patrols, confiscation of public property for military outposts, and the blockades on all but two access points into Hebron have suffocated the livelihood of Hebronites…

On 15 June at around 9:30 p.m., an Israeli raid on a Palestinian home ended with a seven-year-old Palestinian boy hospitalized after the Israeli military used an explosive device to blow open the front door of the Akram Al Qawasmeh home.  The subsequent powerful blast shattered the tempered reinforced glass, shearing off the decorative steel and sending pieces of shrapnel into all corners of the home, which severely injured Akram Al Qawasmeh’s son.

After the explosion, Israeli soldiers did not allow Akram Al Qawasmeh to see his son, and according to reports, the military initially stopped medical personal from treating the victim.  CPT arrived the following day and found a home turned upside down. (See video below.)  Children’s belongings were spread and broken around the house.  Israeli soldiers demolished the kitchen, smashing fruits, vegetables, and other food items on the floor, and left feces on a rug in the basement.

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Hijacking a kidnapping, Part I


As the families of Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel, and Eyal Yifrach languish in uncertainty, grieving the disappearance of their three young boys, the world watches as their anguish is politically co-opted to provide a veil for indiscriminate Israeli military force imposed on the Palestinian communities in the West Bank.  The kidnappings also provide an opportunity for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to advance his right-wing agenda.

Netanyahu and his ilk have hijacked the legitimate, raw emotional pain of the kidnapping catastrophe and transformed it into the political impetus to section off Hebron from the rest of the world, target the Palestinian unity government, deploy intimidation and systematic abuse as a measurement of collective punishment, and strategically empower the settler enterprise in the West Bank.

Prayers for Peacemakers June 10, 2014

Prayers for Peacemakers June 10, 2014

Pray for the Abu Haikels and all the families on Tel Rumeida, in Hebron who are losing land to settlement expansion in the form of an archeological dig and facing increased harassment from settlers.

See AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): The Abu Haikel family—a story of resistance.




Arwa (top left) and Faryel Abu Haikal climb onto their land to halt the demolition of their
property from the Israeli Antiquity Authority, hoping to enforce a police order previously
issued.