HEBRON UPDATE: 1-15 August 2008

8 September 2008
HEBRON UPDATE: 1-15 August 2008

On team during this period were Tarek Abuata, John Harris, Esther Kern, John Lynes, Emily McNeill (intern) and Dianne Roe.

Saturday 2 August
Team members accompanied the CPT delegation to At-Tuwani where they took part in a demonstration involving local children walking from Tuwani to Tuba and back.  On their return, John Lynes, Emily McNeill and another intern visited Wadi Nasara.  They observed settler youths throwing rocks at Palestinian homes below the walls of the Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba.

Returning along the Kiryat Arba Road, Lynes was struck by an egg thrown from a window of the building occupied by Israeli settlers in spring 2007.

Sunday 3 August
Lynes and Dianne Roe went to Jerusalem for church and then to join CPT delegation in a meeting with Mikhael Mannekin of Breaking the Silence.  In response to a question, he replied that it was true that most soldiers “hated CPT’s guts” and wished the Hebron team would go away.  He recounted the recent events of settler harassment of Breaking the Silence volunteers and said that he felt that finally the word was getting out to the Israeli public about settler behavior and the lack of accountability of soldiers and police.
Tuesday 5 August

Lynes, John Harris, and an intern visited Tel Rumeida.  Israeli soldiers had started demanding to see birth certificates for children passing into H2 through the Duboyya street checkpoint.  At the summit of Tel Rumeida, the Israeli military held a Palestinian blindfolded and handcuffed and later released him while TIPH and CPT observers watched.

Friday 8 August
A group of Jewish visitors, heavily escorted by Israeli military, toured through the souk.  Their guide spotted Lynes and commented at length, but obviously unsympathetically, in Hebrew, on CPT and on Lynes’ “Handala” t-shirt (“Handala” is an iconic Palestinian cartoon character.)  Lynes, prompted by Palestinian stallholders, responded in English, welcoming the fact that the tour was taking place on Friday rather than on Shabbat so that participants could spend money at the stalls.  He concluded with a Hebrew blessing.

In the afternoon, Abuata, Lynes, McNeill and another intern visited families in Wadi Nasara.  They encountered a group of young settlers standing around two tents settlers had erected next to Worshippers’ Way.  The settlers asked CPT not to pass and said that the road was for Jews only.  After they continued to walk down the road, the settlers shouted threats.

Saturday 9 August
Harris and McNeill went on mosque patrol in the afternoon.  They saw Israeli soldiers walk a blindfolded and handcuffed Palestinian to the bathrooms near the Jewish entrance to the Tomb of the Patriarchs.  They held him for about thirty minutes and then released him.  Harris and McNeill found him near the mosque afterwards and he said he was detained because he had forgotten his ID.

Sunday 10 August
The team responded to a report that settler children, accompanied by a settler and a soldier, had entered a nearby Palestinian house through the roof and damaged some crockery.  Four CPTers spent some time with the children of the house; their parents were not at home.

Monday 11 August
Lynes led a group of tourists from Bethlehem to Tel Rumeida.  On their way back, all the visitors had to produce their passports at two checkpoints.

Lynes and a visiting Israeli student went to Wadi Nasara.  They observed that the two “outpost” tents had been removed.  Young settlers attacked them, hitting Lynes with two pellets from an air gun and head-butting the Israeli visitor repeatedly until he bled profusely from his mouth.

Tuesday 12 August
Roe and McNeill visited the Jaber family in the Beqa’a Valley to talk to them about the tenth anniversary of their first home demolition.  See 21 August CPTnet release, “Ten years since demolition of the Jaber home,” (http://www.cpt.org/node/7278).

Wednesday 13 August
Abuata, Roe and McNeill visited the Islamic Orphanage in Beit Ummar, which Palestinian security forces recently raided.  See 16 August CPTnet release, “HEBRON DISTRICT: Palestinian Authority raids charities, arrests employee,” (http://www.cpt.org/node/7274.)

Thursday 14 August

Two camera operators from the BBC came to film Lynes for a “Songs of Praise” television program on aging.  They were able to shoot footage of Israeli men chasing and throwing rocks at Palestinian children.

Lynes and McNeill observed a soccer game near the Ibrahimi School.  Border Police came and asked that the game stop because a wedding was taking place at the Gutnick Center and settlers would be using the area as a parking lot.  The police agreed to allow the game to continue if the children played in a smaller area.

CPT received a call at around 7:30 that soldiers had attacked three brothers who had been standing on the sidewalk just beyond the Yatta Checkpoint in H1.   See 3 September CPTnet release, “HEBRON: Israeli soldier beats Palestinian near Hebron checkpoint”(http://www.cpt.org/node/7285).

Friday 15 August

Abuata, McNeill and a visitor went to Wadi Nasara at about 4:00 p.m.  They visited an old man and his son who lived across the road from where the settler youth had been camping out.  The old man said he felt helpless in the face of the settler violence and began crying.

After leaving the house, the three watched the road and the settler camp, where two teenage settlers were sitting.  Many Palestinians walked beside the road rather than on it because they were afraid of the settlers.  After about ten minutes, a third settler came down from Kiryat Arba and chased a group of children who were standing near Palestinian homes across the street.  When McNeill, Abuata and an intern approached to start filming, the two teenagers blocked their path and told them not to pass.  One tried to kick the camera out of McNeill’s hands, nearly hitting her face.  Abuata called the Kiryat Arba police, and after a couple of minutes all three settlers walked away.  New settler youth arrived at the camp; the police never came.