10 July 2013
AL-KHALIL (HEBRON) URGENT ACTION: Help replace volunteers to
whom Israel denied entry last week
On two occasions in the past week, Israeli
officials at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport refused entry to
members of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) who had traveled to Israel to join
the Christian Peacemaker Team in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
On Tuesday 2 July, Israeli authorities
interrogated a CPT reservist from the Netherlands and held him in the airport
for fourteen hours before placing him on a flight home. Three days later they
interrogated a CPT reservist from the United States for ten hours before sending
him home. Each CPTer had served in Israel-Palestine before. Both
volunteers cooperated with the intensive questioning of Israeli security
officials, who seemed most concerned with visas from the government of Iraqi
Kurdistan stamped in both CPTers’ passports because of their past CPT work in
CPT’s sudden inability to get team members into
the country is especially worrying given Israeli
authorities’ recent ban on CPT activities near the Ibrahimi Mosque in
Al-Khalil, apparently intended to halt international nonviolent protective
presence in the most sensitive and volatile area of the city—one of the vital
functions of CPT’s Palestine project.
Since 10 May, Israel’s Border Police have
prohibited CPTers from wearing their uniform, vests, and hats, and from
recording the obstructions imposed on Palestinians’ daily life anywhere between
the two main checkpoints that control Palestinian movement past the mosque
complex, which also includes a synagogue and visitors’ center frequented by
Additionally, Israeli journalist Amira Hass reported in May
that Israel is now forbidding certain “tourists from the United States and
other countries to enter the territories under Palestinian Authority control
without a military entry permit.
Israel has not clarified how it will enforce this restriction, or where
and when it will facilitate permit applications.
Other international human rights organizations
have faced increasing Israeli access restrictions. In recent months
Israel also turned back two members of Operation Dove—an Italian group working
in the South Hebron Hills—at the airport. Two others received permission
to visit for one week, and could not extend their visas.
In response to these developments,
CPT’s team in Palestine wants to initiate a quick “surge” of
volunteers traveling through Israel to join its project within the next few
weeks. This surge will help CPT better staff the project and uphold
critical commitments both to partners in Hebron and the South Hebron Hills in
this interim period of very few team members. The results of this
initiative will also help CPT to ascertain whether the Israeli authorities are
targeting it for removal.
Make a contribution today to help CPT fund several volunteers traveling to
join its Palestine team in very quick succession. CPT relies primarily on
individual donations to fulfill its travel and operating costs. Your gift
of $20 or more will make a difference.
Write “inspired by the Palestine team” in your check memo. Share this
alert with your community.
If you are a CPT reservist and able to come to Israel-Palestine within the next
few weeks, please contact us. A scholarship may be available to reduce
your fundraising obligations.
cptheb [at ]cpt.org