HEBRON/AL-KHALIL: Soldiers practice breaking and entering

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10 September
Soldiers practice breaking and entering

At 3:30 p.m. on
24 August 2010, thirty-four soldiers gathered at the alley in front of the CPT
apartment.  Five soldiers stood at
the entrance to the alley to keep the onlookers back while the others broke
open shop and apartment doors along the street.  When the CPTers asked what they were doing, the soldiers
said they were practicing how to break into shops.  They broke open or damaged at least five doors along the
street.  They started to break into
three other shops, but stopped when a shopkeeper hurried up to them, unlocked
the shops, and persuaded them not to break into the remaining buildings.

At one point,
some of the soldiers went back to their base and were replaced by another group
of soldiers who also began practicing how to break into Palestinian shops.  The soldiers left the area at 5:00 p.m.
after unsuccessfully trying to break into an apartment door that a Palestinian
family had welded shut.  As the
soldiers left, a shopkeeper asked them who would pay for the damaged locks, but
they did not answer.

The following
day at 1:30 p.m., ten soldiers returned. 
Five soldiers again lined up at the entrance to the street to keep
onlookers back.  The other five
soldiers brought equipment to weld shut one of the shop doors that they had
broken open the day before.  They
said they needed to do secure the door to prevent anyone from going up to the
roof where soldiers are stationed to watch the market. 

One of the
shopkeepers persuaded them to wait until the owner of that shop could come and
talk with them.  In the meantime,
she asked them to fix the lock on her shop door that they had broken the day
before.  The soldiers did work on her
door, and while they did not completely fix the broken lock, they did make it
possible for her to padlock the door. 
When the owner of the shop that the soldiers were planning to weld shut
arrived, he assured the soldiers that they did not need to worry about anyone
using his shop to gain entrance to the roof.  He reminded the soldiers that his shop had always been
locked until they broke the lock, and that he had been a good neighbor to the
military for years.  With the help
of the other shopkeeper, the man persuaded the soldiers to give him a chance to
block the entrance to the roof himself. 
A soldier kept asking when this would happen, but the Palestinians told
him they would need time to raise some money and to gather some people to
help.  The soldiers finally agreed
to this arrangement.


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