AL-KHALIL(HEBRON): Israeli military and intelligence officers stop Old City
12-13 December 2011, three armed officers in plain clothes from an Israeli
intelligence organization, accompanied by a squadron of Israeli soldiers,
forced workers to stop renovations in approximately thirteen Palestinian shops
near the entrance of Hebron’s Old City.
men in plain clothes started by inspecting the construction work going on in
the shops near Bab il Baledeyya. They asked questions of the owners,
checking in particular the structures that had belonged to the Jewish community
in Hebron prior to 1929. (For background click here.)
CPTers called an employee of the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee (HRC) on 12
December to tell him that the inspections were occurring, he asked them to get
good photos of the plainclothes officers faces. They later learned that
the officers belonged to an intelligence branch based in the Gush Etzion
settlement bloc, and were probably there at the behest of the Israeli settlers
in Hebron, whom CPTers have observed examining the renovation work on weekly
Saturday tours in the Old City.
shopkeeper who participates in B’tselem video project and was filming the inspection on 13 December told CPTers that that the
settlers wanted the construction work to stop and particularly did not want HRC
to do any renovation; they want to do it themselves “after they take them over
or buy them.” At the end of the inspection on 13 December, the soldiers
ordered the newly re-opened shops and those in the process of renovation
closed. Many of the people present expressed a great deal of distress
when they learned of the closure, because they had been working on the
renovations for a month.
The Hebron Rehabilitation Committee has written a letter to the Israeli
District Coordinating Office (DCO), asking why it has stopped the work, given
that shop owners do not need permission from the DCO to renovate their stores.
of the shop inspections are available here.
related news, 13 December marked the day that the Palestinian flag was first
raised at the Paris headquarters of UNESCO, a United Nations organization
committed to preserving landmarks of cultural heritage, among other things.