16 April 2012
AL-KHALIL (HEBRON) REFLECTION: Not for Sale
by Anonymous CPTer
On 5 April 2012, I accompanied our neighbor, Afifah *, as
she tried to talk to the settlers who were protesting outside a house in a
Palestinian neighbourhood from which the Israeli authorities had evicted them
so she could understand their view of the situation.
A settler refused to speak to her when she requested a
conversation. Upon enquiring why,
he told her that he did not speak to anti-Semites. Afifah told him that they
were both from the same origins.
The settler abruptly pronounced that he was referring to me and that CPT
was an anti-Semitic organization. Afifah
told him that she had known CPT for many years and did not think that its
members were anti-Semitic. He
replied that he had read the CPT website, that everything they posted was
anti-Semitic and that they were Jew-hating Christians.
Afifah asked another settler if she could ask him a few
questions about how he felt about the situation of the occupied house. He did not answer but asked her if she
would like to sell her house.
Afifah replied that she did not own a house. When he asked where she lived, she replied, “On Al Shuhada
Street.” The settler said that
this was impossible, because Al Shuhada is a Jewish-only street. The settlers then proceeded to laugh
amongst themselves and joked that maybe Afifah was Jewish. She told them she was Muslim and lived
on Al Shuhada Street but could not enter or leave by her front door.
The settler then asked if she knew any Arabs who would like
to sell, because they had a foundation with millions of dollars to buy houses
from Arabs. He also claimed they could arrange American or Canadian citizenship
for Arabs who sold their houses to settlers. The settler said that many Arabs wanted to sell to them but
were worried that if they did they would be killed. The promise of North American citizenship must surely be a
lie. It is true, though, that a lot of money used to buy houses illegally in
Hebron comes from international donors, particularly from the USA and Canada.
Afifah asked the settlers why they wanted to push the Arabs
out of Hebron. The settlers
replied that they did not wish to push Arabs out but wanted to make Hebron a
Jewish city where the Arabs would be guests. An Israeli police officer came over at this point and
started to laugh and joke with the settlers and, except for a look of contempt,
all but ignored Afifah and me.
Afifah had the
courage and dignity to face her
oppressors and seek answers, only to be laughed at. One woman against all
the money, all the guns, and all the power of the Hebron settlers, but she
still challenged them. And I am writing these words so you will hear her
and so you will understand what they are trying to do.
* Name changed for security reasons