September 12, 2003
HEBRON: Israel fences in Wadi el-Ghroos, site of first home demolition CPT
witnessed; soldier assaults children
Two new roads and an enormous fence now separate about 100 acres of
vineyards from their Wadi el-Ghroos owners and connect four buildings to the
Kiryat Arba settlement. The fence, about two meters high with razor wire at
the top, resembles the fencing used in northern parts of the West Bank for
the "Apartheid Wall," as Palestinians and progressive Israelis refer to it.
When the wall eventually reaches the Hebron district, the Israeli government
plans to use it to connect Kiryat Arba to settlements inside the city of
Some landowners in Wadi el-Ghoos reportedly did not know about the
confiscation their land until the Israeli authorities installed the fence.
They therefore had no time no time to contest the confiscation in Israeli
About one hundred and twenty Palestinian families live in Wadi el Ghoos.
Fifty-two homes there have demolition orders.
The Israeli army demolished two Wadi el-Ghroos homes during the first
Intifada. They demolished two more in February 1996. CPTers Anne
Montgomery, Dianne Roe, Kathleen Kern and Bob Naiman tried unsuccessfully to
prevent the demolition of one of the homes by climbing on its roof--an
action that eventually led to the establishment of CPT's Campaign for Secure
Dwellings and the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. In March
1997, CPTers helped one of those two families involved rebuild. The Israeli
police arrested CPTer Cliff Kindy, Rabbi for Human Rights' Arik Asherman,
and two Palestinians for clearing away rubble. On April 4, 2001, the
Israeli military demolished five more structures in the area.
Two tiny settlements straddle the main road of the valley. Part of that
land belongs to the descendants of Sheikh Mohammed Ali al-Ja'abari, Hebron's
mayor in the period before 1967. The family sued in 1995 and won their land
rights in an Israeli court--an unusual victory for Palestinian landowners.
They contacted the military about the settlement buildings on their land and
asked to purchase them, but the military never answered them.
In the summer of 1997, Israeli settlers moved into the buildings on the
right side of the road in the middle of the night. A little while later,
the army took over the buildings on the left side of the road for a military
The checkpoint at the Israeli army camp on the main road considerably
restricts traffic in the valley. An Israeli soldier assaulted two young
boys September 4, 2003 who were walking past the camp to school. Putting
his hands on either side of the eight-year-old's face, he lifted him in the
air and slammed him to the ground. The soldier then knocked the
six-year-old boy down and kicked him, according to the boys' father. When
the police asked the soldier why he had done it, he reportedly said, "They
will grow up to be terrorists, so it's better if we kill them now, while
they're small." The two boys are the sons of a family whose home the
Israeli military demolished in 1996.