AL-KHALIIL (HEBRON) UPDATE: 17 January-14 February 2010

 

CPTnet
5 March 2010
AL-KHALIIL (HEBRON) UPDATE:  17 January-14 February 2010

 

On team during this period were Nina Chiba, Fathiyeh Gainey, Maureen Jack, Kathleen Kern, and Paulette Schroeder.

 

The Israeli military continued to make ID checks at checkpoints and army patrols through the Old City a daily occurrence.  Rain fell heavily for several days in January and February, so much so, that shopkeepers told CPTers on 17 January 2010 that they should not leave their house the next day, because an air mass from Egypt was meeting another front, and was going to cause weather, “the likes of which Hebron has never seen.

When school opened again after the winter break, the Hebron team resumed morning school patrols at the Ibrahimi Mosque and Qitoun container checkpoints.  The team also undertook a daily programme of patrols around checkpoints mid-morning, late afternoon, and in the evening. 

 

Checkpoint incidents

Sunday 17 January 2010

On afternoon patrol, as on previous occasions, team members encountered soldiers forcing young men to face to the wall with hands up above their heads.  Schroeder verbally intervened, and eventually the soldiers released the young men.

Tuesday 19 January 2010

On evening patrol, Chiba and Schroeder encountered soldiers again forcing four young men against a wall.  The CPTers spoke to the soldiers, who released three of the young men but detained another, the nephew of CPT’s neighbour, and took him to the police station, where he was issued a summons to appear at a later date and then let go.

Wednesday 20 January 2010

A neighbour called CPT during the evening to say that the gate from the mosque was shut and that a long line of people could not exit to get to their homes.  A couple hours later, the neighbour called again, saying that the electricity had been cut off and the soldiers had refused to open the doors manually.  Some people who live near the Qitoun checkpoint had to walk an hour out of their way to reach their homes.

The neighbour also reported that her nephew had an appointment to talk with the Israeli police and that the current crackdown on young Palestinian men reminded her of a couple of years earlier, when soldiers were making a concerted effort to drive people out of the Old City.  CPTers told her that the team would be happy to walk with her nephews in the Old City.

Friday 22 January 2010

While Schroeder and Chiba were at a checkpoint near the Ibrahimi Mosque, a Swedish tourist pulled up on his motorbike, and asked for directions to the centre of the city.  As Schroeder was directing him, a police car arrived and an officer asked gruffly what the CPTers were doing there.  He then shouted at them to leave.

Wednesday 10 February 2010
In late afternoon, Chiba and Jack saw Border police hold a 24-year-old man at the mosque gate.  The man's brother told the CPTers that the police had taken his brother's phone, which he had bought in the market.  If a Palestinian has a nice phone, he said, the police assume that it has been stolen in Israel.  A civilian police jeep arrived and at 5:15 p.m., the civilian police put the man in the back and drove off.  The CPTers learned subsequently that the police had taken the man to Kiryat Arba police station but released him within an hour; the police did not return the man's phone.

Saturday 6 February 2010

As Chiba and Jack passed through the mosque turnstiles on early morning patrol Jack spoke to two Palestinian men Border Police were holding for ID checks.  A border police captain immediately told them to go.  Jack said that they were causing no problems by being there, but he insisted they leave.  The CPTers moved a few paces down the hill and monitored from there.  After five minutes, a young female border police officer approached them, looking embarrassed, and said that her captain had said they must leave.  The CPTers said that they would go for a walk around and come back, which they did.

Thursday 11 February 2010
At the Qitoun checkpoint on morning school patrol, Jack observed a border police sergeant phone in for an ID check on a Palestinian man.  From start to finish, the process took four minutes.

At Al Sahla Street checkpoint (near the Gutnick Centre), Gainey and Jack saw soldiers holding two young Palestinian men.  One of them said that he needed to use the toilet but the soldiers would not let him do so.  Jack asked a soldier to allow the young man to go across the street to a local house, which he did.  The young men said that soldiers had held them for two hours; one soldier told the CPTers they had done so for twenty minutes and the other said half an hour.  Gainey and Jack protested that the check was taking too long.  After another two or three minutes, the men got their IDs back and left.

 

Settler incidents

Thursday 21 January

At al-Bweireh, Gainey and Kern observed that, since 16 January 2010, settlers had erected a third building at the settlement outpost.  Kern called Settlement Watch to report the new construction

Saturday 23 January 2010

Kern and local CPT partner Hani Abu Haikel went out to al-Bweireh.  As they passed the Givat Ha Harsina settlement, young settler children called them dogs and threw stones at them.  Kern and Abu Haikel then came upon a group of local Palestinians, who reported that at around 2:30 p.m., the Israeli group Ta'ayush had come to protest against the settlers’ outpost.  When the group came within fifteen meters of the outpost, the settlers started throwing stones.  One young woman received a head wound and required an ambulance, which the soldiers would not let pass to where the young woman was.

Friday 29 January 2010

In the morning, a friend called, saying that settlers were near his house in the Beqa’a Valley.  Although the team set off immediately, the settlers were no longer there when the CPTers arrived.  Afterwards, the team had breakfast with the family.  The friend currently has a demolition order on agricultural terraces on his land.  He said he would welcome international assistance and seemed depressed by the current situation.

Saturday 6 February 2010
Chiba, Gainey, and Jack monitored a settler tour of about thirty, accompanied by twelve soldiers.  The soldiers allowed Palestinians and internationals to pass around the group.  Two young men from the tour group separately approached the CPTers.  One asked Jack, 'Are you Christian?  Where do you live?'  When Jack responded that team members were Christian and live in the Old City he said, 'Good for you.'  An older man moved him away.

Thursday 11 February 2010
Gainey and Jack responded to a report of settler trouble from a family that lives beside the Beit Hadassah settlement.

At 2:30 p.m., as the fourteen-year-old daughter of the family was returning to her house, the settlers threw bags of feathers into the family's courtyard and food debris onto the steps up to the family's front door.  At about 3:00 p.m., the settlers threw down wire, which scratched the arm and chest of a male member of the family.  The family told the CPTers that the settlers had also thrown feathers and a stone at Israeli soldiers, and that the stone had hit a soldier.

The family has lived in their present home for ten years.  They said they experience trouble from the settlers every day.  Nine months ago, settlers from Beit Hadassah threw a stone at a male member of the family, causing a head injury; the man has not worked since this incident.  For photos of the incident go to http://cpt.org/gallery/Settler-harassment
Friday 12 February 2010

A shopkeeper reported to CPTers that around 8:00 a.m., settlers had thrown stones from Beit Hadassah at people in the street.  A Palestinian man of about twenty years was hit by two stones, one the size of a cricket ball (on his shoulder), and one much smaller (on his head.)  He had joked to the shopkeeper that it was lucky that the larger stone did not hit his head.

Saturday 13 February 2010

Gainey and Chiba observed the weekly settler tour of the Old City, consisting of approximately sixty young people, including about ten children.  The military kept a tight circle around the settlers and pointed their guns at the CPTers.  At first, no Palestinians were allowed to pass through to their homes or shops etc., but as restless murmurings arose, a newly deployed group of soldiers let the Palestinians through.  Chiba stood with several nervous Palestinian children who had gathered close to the soldiers.

 

Encounters with the Israeli military and police

Saturday 23 January 2010

Team members, along with several other international monitoring groups, observed the routine Saturday afternoon settler tour.  Chiba noted that one soldier was careful to let all Palestinians, especially the children, pass through when the tour group blocked the narrow alleyways.  He also ensured that the other soldiers would similarly allow the Palestinians to pass.

On night patrol, Chiba, Gainey, and Schroeder saw a group of soldiers in a dark corner of an alley.  As the CPTers approached, they saw that one soldier had his knee in the back of a Palestinian man, forcing him against the wall.  The man looked extremely frightened.  Gainey engaged the soldiers in conversation and then spoke with the young man.  Eventually the soldiers let the man go.  He was very upset and told Gainey that if the CPTers had not intervened something much worse (possibly rape) would have happened

Tuesday 26 January 2010

When Schroeder and Chiba were returning from a visit, Israeli police stopped them and told them they could not walk on Shuhada Street by order of the Israeli government.  The CPTers told the police that the Mayor of Hebron had invited CPT to be in the city.  The police officer then became less aggressive, but took their passports to record their numbers and told them they would be wiser not to wear their red hats in the area.

Wednesday 27 January 2010

While they were on evening patrol, Gainey and Schroeder had a conversation with a soldier near the Ibrahimi mosque.  He asked them about CPT’s work and whether the team reported the good things that soldiers do.  When Schroeder asked him what he meant, he said, ‘When we give the children bread.’

Saturday 30 January 2010

Chiba and Gainey monitored the Saturday settler tour, in which approximately thirty-eight people participated.  Accompanying the group, both in front and behind, were thirteen soldiers, three of whom kept guns trained on the CPTers when the group stopped at various points in the Old City.

Tuesday 9 February 2010

At the Qitoun checkpoint at around 4:30 p.m., Chiba and Jack stopped to speak to a Palestinian friend and two visitors.  As they were talking together, a border police sergeant came over to chat.  Initially he thought the CPTers were Israelis.  The sergeant said that he believed there would never be peace, and that he believed that 'one million per cent.'  He told the CPTers that they had no need to observe at checkpoints as 'God and the camera' were watching.  They parted on genial terms.

When Chiba and Jack returned to the Ibrahimi Mosque gate Border Police were holding ten men.  As Jack spoke to one of them, a border police officer yelled at her to go.  She and Chiba moved a few paces down the hill and stood.  The police officer said that he had told them to go; the CPTers replied that they had moved.  Some of the men being held grinned at the CPTers in solidarity.  The men were gradually released.

Thursday 11 February 2010

In late afternoon, Gainey and Jack followed a patrol of soldiers through the Old City.  After stopping a car and checking the driver's ID and vehicle documents, the soldiers stopped another Palestinian man for an ID check.  He did not have his ID with him and his son went the short distance to his home to bring it.  Two boys of about ten wanted to go up the hill but the soldiers stopped them.  Jack's protestations that the area was not a closed military zone were fruitless.  A young couple with two young children also wanted to go up the hill. The soldiers initially prevented them from doing so, but later allowed them to pass.  When the son returned with the ID, the army required his father to go with them to Beit Romano. On the way, Gainey asked the man what his ID number was.  He did not know what it was and a soldier was by this time holding his ID.  The man asked the soldier for it but the soldier refused.  The soldiers left the man waiting at Beit Romano while his ID was checked. This process took twenty minutes, after which the soldiers returned the ID with a firm warning to the man to carry his ID at all times.

Friday 12 February 2010

In the late afternoon, a patrol of soldiers shot dead a Palestinian man near Bab iZaweyya, by the junction of H1 and H2.  See Al Khalil (Hebron) reflection 'My son, my son' at http://www.cpt.org/cptnet/2010/03/01/al-khaliil-hebron-reflection-“my-son-my-son”

 

Networking

Monday 18 January 2010

A CPT friend from Sabeel (www.sabeel.org) brought a young man to visit who had just taken a Birthright Israel tour (www.birthrightisrael.com).  He spoke of how his father and his brother, who are Hasidic Jews, were not happy that he has decided to leave that Jewish tradition.  He wanted to help his family in the USA understand the situation in Palestine/Israel and wanted to work with the Birthright group and social media to inform these audiences about the real situation in the area.

Tuesday 19 January 2010

Local shopkeepers in the Old City told the team that they have survived economically because they have shops in other parts of Al-Khaliil/Hebron.  They said that they did not believe that their descendants will be able to stay in the Old City.  However, the team’s translator, a young teacher, told the CPTers that he was determined never to leave.

Wednesday 20 January 2010

Chiba, Gainey, and Schroeder attended a Machsoum Watch (www.machsomwatch.org/en) video night in Jerusalem. 

Tuesday 26 January 2010

Chiba, Gainey, and Schroeder attended a civic tree planting organised by the Palestinian civic authorities and the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee.  Participants then processed through the Old City to a restored building that is now the new offices of the Ministry of Agriculture.  The Palestinian Authority is planning for all of its ministries to have offices in the Old City.   

Wednesday 3 February 2010

Chiba, Gainey, and Jack attended a meeting in Jerusalem of the Association of International Aid Agencies.  International NGOs have become very concerned about the Israeli authorities' restrictions on visas for many of their staff, which curtails the work of the NGOS.

 

School patrol

Thursday 4 February 2010

At the mosque turnstiles, a woman teacher passing from the Old City told Gainey and Jack that on the previous day (when, because of other commitments, no CPTers were present) the soldiers had delayed the children and teachers for a long time.

Sunday 7 February 2010

During school patrol at the Qitoun checkpoint, a soldier asked Chiba where she was from.  Just before 8:00 a.m., a jeep arrived and stopped beside the CPTers.  Jack approached the vehicle.  One of the soldiers said that he was the commander of the checkpoint.  He asked Jack where she was from and what her name was; she introduced herself and asked him his name; they shook hands.  He said that where the CPTers were standing was very dangerous for them.  He knew they had their work to do, but they could do it from further away.  Jack said they felt perfectly safe where they were but thanked him for his concern; he thanked her for listening.

Tuesday 9 February 2010

At the mosque turnstiles, Chiba and Gainey observed what seemed to be a disagreement between two soldiers.  Soldiers temporarily shut down the turnstile, resulting in almost forty Palestinians, including many small children on their way to school, having to wait to pass through.  After reopening the turnstile, the soldiers made the Palestinians pass through very slowly, one by one, and searched all the men, women, and children.  One man, whom the soldiers treated particularly badly, became angry and tried unsuccessfully to go back the way he had come.  He then walked back and forward between the locked turnstiles.  Eventually the soldiers let him through but by then, many more people were waiting.  Gainey called through, asking what the problem was.  The soldiers did not reply, but they opened the turnstiles and the remaining people passed through without further delay.

As Jack and visiting CPTer Christopher Hatton left the Qitoun checkpoint, the new head teacher of the Ibrahimi Boys' School invited them in.  He had been one of those delayed at the mosque checkpoint and expressed his gratitude to CPT for its efforts.

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