al-Khalil (Hebron)

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. 

PALESTINE: Palestinians and Internationals harvest olives on Surif village land threatened with confiscation

On 18 October, the Hebron Defense Committee organized a community workday that celebrated the olive harvest and resisted the Israeli confiscation of Palestinian land belonging to the town of Surif in the Hebron District, which lies adjacent to the Separation Barrier/Apartheid Wall.

A month ago, Israeli authorities announced the confiscation of 4000 dunums [988 acres] around Surif.  The 18 October event gathered local and international activists in a show of solidarity with the Palestinian farmers and also provided labor to help the families with the olive picking.  Harvest time is now in full swing, and for Palestinian community members, the olive trees ‘symbolize life and existence’.

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Israeli military arrests ten-year-old boy, detains two others

On 12 October 2014, Israeli soldiers threatened two Palestinian boys—ages six and thirteen—with arrest, charging them with throwing stones.

The Headmaster of Mutanabi School was able to convince the soldiers not to arrest the six and thirteen year old, telling the soldiers he would contact the DCO (The liaison between the Palestinian police and the Israeli military.

However, Israeli soldiers arrested a third boy, age ten, outside of his home as he was playing on his bike, put him in their military jeep and took him away.  The military later released him to the Palestinian Authority police and returned him to his parents.

An army commander recently threatened to close Mutanabi School if boys threw one more stone.

2014 10 12 Mutanabi 6 year boy detained (1024x738)2014 10 12 Mutanabi 13 year boy detained (1024x683)2014 10 12 Mutanabi 10 year boy arrested (1024x683)[1]
6 year old boy13 year old boy10 year old boy

Prayers for Peacemakers, October 9, 2014

Prayers for Peacemakers, October 9, 2014

Pray for the children of Hebron’s Old City who are subject to arbitrary arrest and detention without due process and since the start of the school year, have had more than 100 tear gas grenades fired at them.

Epixel* for Sunday, October 12, 2014

For You have been a refuge to the poor, a refuge to the needy in their distress, a shelter from the
rainstorm and a shade from the heat. When the blast of the ruthless was like a winter rainstorm
 
                                                                                                                                                             Isaiah 25:4

*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 locates and kills suspects in kidnappings and murders of three Israeli youth

 

 
 photo @alaaqawasmi

Early this morning, Tuesday, 23 September 2014, the Israeli military discovered the hiding place of and killed Amer Abu Aisha and Marwan Qawasmeh, the two suspects in the kidnapping and killing of the three Israeli settler youth in June.

The killing took place on the first floor of a wood factory in the Hai El Sharma neighborhood near Hebron University after a firefight.  The building has three floors:  the first is a wood factory; the second contains shops and the third is residential.  Due to the live ammunition, small bombs, and tear gas thrown into the building by the soldiers, a fire started, which burned one of the two suspects almost beyond recognition.  The blasts from the bombs, and the military tractor used to cave in the building also damaged adjoining homes and buildings.

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON) REFLECTION: Peacemaking--a journey taken step by step

 Corey in Old CIty
  CPTer aspiring to be peacemaker while monitoring
 soldiers in Hebron's Old City.

I am an aspiring peacemaker.

I use the word “aspiring” because I have not yet fully embraced in thought and action the ideals of peacemaking that I find so compelling. Practicing it is a constant daily effort, a series of taking steps (sometimes forward, sometimes backward), falling, getting up, and trying again. Overall, I think I’ve taken more steps forward than backward, but my peacemaking journey is far from complete. It is a lifelong quest. 

Stepping into Conflict

I have been in many places where oppression is evident. It is in Palestine, however, where I have seen most clearly the systematic dehumanization of people by other people, in both subtle and obvious ways, every day, day after day.Watching interactions between Palestinians and Israelis has challenged me and my peacemaking ideals to the core. How do I express my anger in a way that doesn’t dehumanize those I accuse of dehumanizing others? How do I acknowledge the destructive forces of a system while acknowledging that the people who by choice or by birth are part of that system are children of God? How do I live in community with others during difficult circumstances?  

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)