Archive - Aug 2008

August 23rd



 Saturday 5 July
Lynes, Dianne Roe and a visitor from Canada walked north along Shuhada Street to Bab Al Khan.  Roe entered the Waqf apartments to visit the only family still living there.  An Israeli officer stopped Lynes and the visitor before they could follow her.  The officer instructed the sentry to phone and ascertain whether the CPTers were permitted to enter.

Meanwhile civilian police officers told Lynes to tell Roe to leave the home.  He replied that Roe would not feel disposed to comply with his instructions.  They said they would enter the home and make Roe leave.  Roe remained with the family for about two hours before leaving the building in her own time.  She attempted to enter the Old City through a restricted gate but the soldier called her back and admonished her for entering the building without first asking.  Roe told him that not allowing anyone to visit this family was unfair.  The soldier said only CPT was not allowed to visit.  Roe pointed out that the Palestinian neighbors also could not visit, either.  The soldier said that other internationals could visit the woman.  Roe told the soldier she would send other internationals to visit the woman so she would not be alone.  The soldier said he did not know if they could visit or not; he only knew that CPT could not.


Saturday 19 July
Settlers in the neighborhood of the black tent, guarded by dozens of Israeli soldiers, attacked and intimidated local Palestinians.

In the evening, settler youth harassed three international human rights workers on the route between the old city and Kiryat Arba. They pushed and hit them, broke one camera and sprayed one observer with pepper spray.  McNeill and Van Hoogstraten approached from Kiryat Arba Road.  Four soldiers in a jeep prevented them passing. Shortly after the jeep left, Palestinians told Van Hoogstraten andMcNeill the settlers were throwing rocks from the top of the occupied house on Kiryat Arba Road. They stood near the house and filmed. No more stones were thrown.  Meanwhile Lynes visited families in Wadi Nasara to see if they had been attacked.  Then he joined the others in Kiryat Arba Road.

August 21st

HEBRON REFLECTION: Ten years since demolition of Jaber home

Ten years ago this week, the Israeli military demolished ‘Atta and Rodeina Jaber's home for the first time.  "The rubble is still in my face, on the ground," ‘Atta told Christian Peacemaker Team members as he and his family harvested tomatoes in the hot, late-morning sun. "If I forget, the rubble reminds me. Every day."

On 19 August 1998, 140 Israeli soldiers and two large bulldozers arrived to destroy the home that ‘Atta and Rodeina Jaber had built six years before on land where Atta's family has lived for more than 100 years.

Their land in the Beqa'a Valley is in Area C, which is under full Israeli control. Palestinians are routinely denied building permits in Area C.

Neighbors, family members, Israelis and internationals immediately came together to rebuild a two-room house with donated and supplies. But on 16 September, the army demolished this house as well. When ‘Atta tried to hand his infant son to a soldier to take to safety, he was beaten and then arrested. He spent four days in jail and was unable to work for eight months due to his injuries.

August 20th



Pray for those who live along the Magdalena River in central Colombia that the waters of the river,
so often marked by sickness and by death at the hands of armed groups, may instead flow with hope and sustenance.

Doug Pritchard
Christian Peacemaker Teams
Toronto, Canada

IRAQ: Displaced villagers send concerns to representatives of Kurdish and U.S. governments.

Fifty children and adults of the Zharawa IDP (Internally Displaced Person) Camp, and Christian Peacemaker team and delegation members clustered around two large cloth banners along the bank of the shallow river not far from the Iraq-Iran border. Written boldly on one side was, “Bombing Hurts. Please Stop!”  With paint, villagers put handprints and small drawings on this banner. Several children proudly held up their hands for us to see.

August 19th

BEIT UMMAR: New stop-work/demolition orders issued in Beit Ummar.

The Israeli military issued five stop-work orders and two demolition orders on 5 August to Palestinians in Beit Ummar, a village north of Hebron. 

August 16th

HEBRON DISTRICT: Palestinian Authority raids charities, arrests employees

Christian Peacemaker Teams in Hebron calls on individuals and organizations to contact the Palestinian Prime Minister's Office following recent Palestinian Authority (PA) arrests and raids on charities in the West Bank.

August 15th

HEBRON: Delegation meets with Breaking the Silence

Our CPT delegation met Michael, one of the former Israeli soldiers now active in the "Breaking the Silence" organization.  Originally American, he immigrated to Jerusalem in his early years.  For people like him, he said, the State of Israel was "a sort of miracle."  Joining the Israeli military was like joining a good college in America­the key to advancement and an enjoyable social life.  He did well in the military and quickly rose to the rank of Lieutenant General.

"Breaking the Silence" started in 2004 as an exhibition with photographs and stories from disillusioned military personnel who had served in Hebron.  Michael happened to see it in Tel Aviv and now works full time as one of Breaking the Silence's main representatives.  His military background helps in getting an audience, and he spends most of his time talking to young people before their military service.

The organization seeks to educate Israelis who "have no clue," according to Michael.  Most Israelis, he said, seem to be in a sort of self-induced slumber as to the realities of occupation.  They lazily believe that some form of equality and dignity is possible despite the occupation, a formula Michael passionately rejects.

Originally "Breaking the Silence" would take tourists to Hebron, but settlers attacked them and the police eventually kicked out.  Now they take three or four people if they go at all, because such low numbers do not officially constitute a "group."  

August 14th


During the month of July, Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) documented seven violent attacks on Palestinians in the South Hebron Hills by Israeli settlers living in the area.*  Four of these attacks were on Palestinian children traveling on their way to or from summer camp.  Despite violence, verbal threats, and Israeli settlers chasing them off their land, Palestinian shepherds continued to graze their flocks on their land during the month of July.  Also, Palestinian children from the villages of Tuba and Maghaer Al Abeed continued to attend summer camp in Tuba, in spite of violent attacks, and the Israeli military's regular refusal to escort the children safely to camp.  In response to the settler's violence, the village of At-Tuwani organized a nonviolent march to raise awareness of the violence children face on their journey to and from school and of continued settlement expansion in the area [See 4 August 2008 CPTnet release, "AT-TUWANI: March from At-Tuwani to Tuba a success."]

IRAQ: Supporting our sisters

Despite repeatedly calling for an end to violence against women, the young men continued to dominate the conversation.  Nearly every time one of the two women spoke, one of the men cut her off.  The men in this CPT training group of seven were saying all the right things, but they were more interested in speaking than in hearing about the oppression experienced by their sisters.  At one point, when I asked the group what men could do to support women, the men competed with each other to analyze the problem.  Even when I redirected the question to the older of the two women, a hesitant party-affiliated activist, she seemed unwilling to answer directly.  Her response, however, showed that her uncertainty was more a matter of inability than unwillingness.  "How can I trust any man in my culture?" she demanded, "I can not.  We women have all been betrayed by every man in our society." 

August 13th

COLOMBIA REFLECTION: Announcing and denouncing

Knowing the reality of the armed conflict through first hand accounts, through the stories of people who have lived through massacres and displacement, is very different from knowing the conflict through secondary sources.  For so many of us, the Magdalena River is simply the source of great fish.  What we too often fail to realize is that for those who live within its reach, the Magdalena River can mean both life and death.   With this in mind and to finish our time together, on 16 June 2008 our delegation held a time of public prayer.  Through a Ritual of Purification of the River, we chose both to announce and denounce what we had heard and seen in order to clamour for a time when the waters of the river, too often marked with sickness and death, will instead flow with hope.