Archive - Jul 7, 2008

HEBRON REFLECTION: The Islamic Charitable Society and the Salvation Army

Before I left for a CPT assignment in Hebron, a relative asked what I would be doing there. I told him I would probably be spending a lot of time at Islamic Charitable Society (ICS) orphanages the Israeli military was trying to close down. "Why are they trying to close them down?" he asked. "Because they are run by an Islamic charity," I said. "Oh," he said, nodding, as though the word "Islamic" were a sound reason for depriving several hundred children of a home.

As I looked for analogies that would explain the situation of the ICS, I thought of the Salvation Army.  I remember how much I loved hearing the sound my coins made at Christmas time when I dropped them in the red metal pot, and the smile the old man in the Salvation Army uniform gave me as he rang his bell beside it.  My husband, however, associates the Salvation Army with Oliver North, whom it invited to speak at fundraising events. As someone who cared passionately about the human rights abuses the governments of Central America were committing against their citizens during the 1980s, he was appalled that a Christian organization would provide North a platform, given that North's work with U.S. intelligence agencies supported criminals responsible for the deaths of thousands of Central Americans.

No one suggested shutting down the Salvation Army's ministries because of their connection to a man who lied before Congress about selling weapons to Iran to fund the Nicaraguan Contras. No one in the United States would suggest shutting down charitable institutions for the needy run by conservative Republican Christians simply because a conservative Republican administration initiated the catastrophic violence in Afghanistan and Iraq.

AT-TUWANI: Israeli military further blocks main access road in South Hebron Hills

On 5 July, 2008, at 11:30 a.m., the Israeli military added three barriers to ones it had erected in previous weeks, further blocking vehicular access on the road between South Hebron village of At-Tuwani and Yatta.