HEBRON UPDATE: October 9 - October 23, 1999

November 4, 1999
Hebron Update: October 9 - October 23, 1999

Saturday, October 9
While giving a tour of Hebron, Jamey Bouwmeester witnessed a
delegation of Jordanian and Palestinian politicians near the Tomb of the
Patriarchs. A group of settlers was also in the area for Shabbat prayers.
A confrontation ensued with Palestinian security and Israeli military forces
between the two groups. Eventually the politicians and the settlers moved
on, leaving only Israeli military and Palestinian shopkeepers in the area.

Tensions were still running high, and when soldiers began pushing and
arresting Palestinians, Bouwmeester tried to separate some soldiers from
Palestinians they were harassing, asking the soldiers to "take it easy."
One particularly agitated soldier began pushing Bouwmeester, asking him,
"Why do you want to hurt us?"

"I don't want to hurt you," Bouwmeester replied,
"You're hurting me." A moment later Bouwmeester was escorted to a police
jeep and told he was under arrest. However, after being held for 30
minutes, he was released.

Monday, October 11
In the Beqa'a valley, Natasha Krahn noticed Israelis digging along the main
water line, searching for unauthorized tap-ins. Israel allots only 20% of
the water from the West Bank to Palestinians. Farmers in the Beqa'a are not
given enough water to irrigate their crops and so many tap into the supply

Abdel Jawad Jabber reported that civilian security personnel from Harsina
settlement threatened to confiscate his irrigation system.

Tuesday, October 12
Anne Montgomery went to a well attended press conference in
Bethlehem regarding a new checkpoint that is being built between Bethlehem
and Jerusalem. The new checkpoint will be for Palestinians only, while the
existing checkpoint will be used by tourists during the upcoming "Bethlehem
2000" celebrations.

Wednesday, October 13
Abdel Hadi Hantash of the Palestinian Land Defense Committee
(PLDC) took the team and two journalists to an area near Idna
village, west of Hebron, where more than 5000 acres were recently declared
closed military areas. Dozens of families were given evacuation orders
although all plan to defy the orders. The area is nearly adjacent to the
border between the West Bank and Israel and it is expected that this is the
first step towards annexing the land to Israel. "The whole world needs to
know about Israel's expansionist plans," said Hantash.

Friday, October 15
The team attended the wedding of Manal Al Atrash, eldest daughter of Yusef
and Zuhoor Al Atrash. After sharing so much sorrow with the family, team
members were glad to share in their joy.

Saturday, October 16
Bourke Kennedy accompanied Jeff Halper of ICAHD and several
members of the PLDC to an area to the south-east of Hebron where 20,000
acres were recently declared a closed military zone. The group drove in
behind one of the Israeli settlements in the area to view the area that has
been confiscated. Upon returning to the main road, they were pulled over by
a military jeep. A soldier asked if there was anything he could do for the
group. "Yes," replied Halper, "Dismantle that illegal settlement for us."
The soldier said he couldn't do that.

Thursday, October 21
Montgomery attended a demonstration organized by Bethlehem
University students to protest the new checkpoint. The
demonstrators walked towards the checkpoint, and without warning Israeli
soldiers fired rubber coated bullets and tear gas into the crowd.
Montgomery and several of the demonstrators sought refuge from the gas in a
nearby store. When they tried to exit the store, they were fired upon
Five students were injured and taken to area hospitals.

Saturday, October 23
The team went to the Beqa'a valley to celebrate the 6th birthday of Atta and
Rodeina Jaber's daughter, Amooni. The party was held in the Red Cross tent
that stands between the Jaber's two demolished homes. Many Israelis who
have shared the family's struggle also attended the party.