HEBRON: Soldiers prevent CPTers from helping friend prune vineyard

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CPTnet March 8, 2004 HEBRON: Soldiers prevent CPTers from helping friend
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prune vineyard
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<P><P>On Thursday February 26, the Hebron team and a CPT delegation attempted to
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help a Palestinian friend prune his vineyards as part of a nonviolent
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witness near the Israeli settlement of Harsina.
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<P>Nafez Assaily, a local nonviolent activist and founder of the Library On
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Wheels for Nonviolence and Peace program in Hebron, owns a parcel of land
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adjacent to the Harsina settlement outside Hebron. An inheritance from his
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father, the land behind the house was an income-generating grape arbor until
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the Israeli military constructed a road and a fence that now separates the
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grape arbor from the Assaily home.
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<P>While the grape arbor legally belongs to the Assaily family, Assaily must
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obtain permission from the Israeli military to cross the Israeli constructed
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fence and road in order to reach his land. Every time Assaily calls Israeli
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officials for permission, his calls go unanswered. When Assaily told
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Israeli soldiers about his problem, soldiers responded by saying, &quot;If there
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is no answer, you cannot work.&quot;
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<P>As a challenge to the illegal restrictions placed on him, Assaily asked CPT
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to join him in pruning vines in his grape arbor. Assaily and CPTers entered
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by passing through an opening in the fence, crossing the patrol road and
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crawling through destroyed vine supports. As the group tended to several
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vines, settlement guards called on Israeli soldiers to order Assaily and
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CPTers out of Assaily's field.
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<P>Israeli soldiers confronted Assaily and several CPTers. After some
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discussion, Assaily asked CPTers to follow the soldiers' orders and return
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to the other side of the fence. The group continued to repair areas of the
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Assaily property on the other side of the fence that Israeli workers damaged
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during its construction.
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<P>Israeli soldiers proceeded to interrogate one member of the group, a
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Palestinian friend of the CPT team. They confiscated her ID card and told
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her they would search her home. Two CPTers went to her house to provide a
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presence. Six soldiers searched the home two hours later.
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<P>At the same time, Israeli soldiers forced entrance into several near-by
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homes. CPTers observed and photographed as soldiers forced a young
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Palestinian man to lead them through his home and break into a neighbor's
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home. Palestinians told the CPT team that the soldiers were looking for
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evidence of fence tampering. Local journalists confirmed reports that the
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section of fence in question was actually removed by Harsina settlers.
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<P>At their requests, CPTers spent the night with Assaily and the Palestinian
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friend of the team whose home had earlier been searched by soldiers. The
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soldiers had threatened them with night searches, but did not carry out
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these threats.
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