Early on Friday morning, 8 October, CPTers went to the Jabal Johar district of
Hebron in response to news that the Israeli military had killed two Palestinians.
When the CPTers arrived, the military had cordoned off the area, but a
Palestinian family invited CPTers to observe from the rooftop of a nearby
Palestinian apartment block. From
there they could see heavy machinery at work just behind a mosque, and learned
from local people that the military had demolished a three-storey building in reprisal
for the killings of four Israeli settlers near Kiryat Arba four weeks ago. The two dead men, thought to be members
of the military wing of Hamas, were accused of killing the settlers.
While the CPTers watched from the rooftop, a large crowd of
young Palestinian men carried away the body of one of the dead men from the
site of the demolished house. When
the young men returned about an hour later, they began throwing rocks at the
Israeli Border Police in the street below the apartment and burning tires. The Border Police responded with
percussion grenades and later with tear-gas.
When the Israeli soldiers had completed the demolition of the house, they
removed the heavy machinery, and gradually withdrew from the area. The CPTers then went to the site of the
demolished house and discovered it had been home to four families: about thirty
people in all. The families had
kept sheep and goats in the basement, and dead animals were lying on the
ground. Curtains and bedding hung
from the tangled wreckage of iron reinforcing rods and broken concrete. An upper room had been ready for a
bridal suite, and some of the furniture was still in place.
More than a hundred Palestinian men and boys stood silently
in the rubble of the house, while women who had lived in the house gathered
nearby, bewildered. “Please
tell the world what has happened here today,” they asked a CPTer. Another woman yelled, “What have we
done to deserve this?” while she stared at the ruins.