HEBRON UPDATE: 23 December 2005-5 January 2006

16 January 2006

HEBRON UPDATE: 23 December 2005-5 January 2006

Team members during the period were David Corcoran, Art Gish, John Lynes,
Sarah MacDonald, Rich Meyer, Grace Pleiman, Harriet Taylor, Kathie Uhler,
Bob Gross, Jerry Levin, Lorin Peters, Grace Pleiman, and Dianne Roe.

Friday 23 December 2005

Israeli soldiers stopped Art Gish from entering the Old City of Hebron
through Gate Five, close to the Israeli settlement of Avraham Avinu. Gish
stood in the rain and kept asking why he could not go home. When a group
of soldiers went through the gate, Gish followed them and confronted them
as they hassled boys outside the CPT apartment.

Saturday 24 December (Christmas Eve)

Most of the team went on school patrol in the morning. After they had
passed through Gate Five, Israeli soldiers told them the gate was closed
and they had to go back. They refused to return, so the soldier finally
let the team go ahead. Teachers were angry that the military did not
allow them through.

Six CPTers decided to go back through Gate Five. They saw Israeli
soldiers preventing two women teachers from passing. The CPTers asked
the soldiers why. "The gate is closed and they can go another way,"
soldiers told them.

Six more soldiers arrived with an officer of higher rank. He asked if
there was a problem. Gish replied, " Yes, there is a problem. These
soldiers have prevented teachers from going to school and they are
preventing us from going home." The officer agreed to the CPTers going
through Gate Five, and the teachers going through the gate on the following

Sonia Robbins and Kathie Uhler patrolled at the Ibrahimi Boys School/Yatta
Road check point. One soldier told some young female students, "When CPT
is here, you try to go through [the razor wire barricade instead of
through the metal detector cabin.]" Uhler, incredulous, remarked out
loud, "Really?" Later, a pregnant teacher was denied entrance through the
barricade. Members of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron
(TIPH) pleaded for her to no avail. The woman refused to pass through the
cabin; so she turned and began walking the long way to the Al Fayha'a
Girls School.

CPTers had never witnessed soldiers forcing pregnant women to go through the
metal detector.

Most of the team went to Bethlehem for Christmas Eve services.

Sunday 25 December (Christmas Day)

Palestinian schools were closed for Christmas.
Most of the team had Christmas lunch at the home of two CPT reservists in

 Monday 26 December Gish, John Lynes and Kathie Uhler went on school patrol.
They went through Gate Five, but an Israeli soldier stopped them and told
them that only teachers and students may use Gate Five. Gish pointed out
that the officer on Friday said CPT could go through this gate. The soldier
told the CPTers to wait, but Gish said he would go on to the street to watch
the children, and that the soldier could contact him there. The soldier
reluctantly agreed, and soon approached Gish to tell him that CPT could
indeed use the gate.

After a quiet patrol at the Ibrahimi Boys' School/Yatta Road checkpoint,
Uhler paid a visit to the teachers at the Al Fayha'a Girls' School. She
met five teachers there to understand their objections to female students
and teachers passing through the metal detector at the checkpoint.

The teachers showed Uhler a letter in Arabic, dated 12 December 2005, to
their school, the boys' school and the Quturba Girls' School from the
(Israeli) Civil Administration. In it, they said, a report from the United
Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) was
quoted saying there was "no danger" in passing through a metal
detector. The teachers immediately told Uhler, "But, we do not believe it."

When Uhler asked them if they would pass through the cabin if the detector
was turned off (an occasional IDF option), they said, "If we do not want
to pass through, what is the difference?" The teachers then
gave a reason why they did not want the girls to go through the cabin at
all. The soldiers, it seems, sometimes made the girls open their coats in
the cabin, and this violated a Muslim standard of modesty. The parents,
furthermore, were unable to make complaints about this to the police
because the station is in an Israeli settlement, and they, as
Palestinians, could not get a permit to go there.

Another issue for the teachers, they said, was that the long way around to
the school entailed going through private property. They were afraid that
the owners may some day forbid passage through their land.
When asked if they wanted CPT patrolling at the cabin, one teacher said,
"It sometimes helps the children to have the soldiers watched. For myself,
I will walk the long way."

Later in the morning, Abdul Hadi Hantash (of the Hebron Land Defense
Committee) arrived at the CPT apartment. He reported that three recent
military orders have stipulated the installation of a fence, starting at
the southwest corner of the West Bank along route 60 and connecting to
route 317, passing by the entrance to At-Tuwani, and ending at Karmel, a
distance of roughly thirty kilometers. The orders do not mention gates in
the fence through which Palestinians could access their land and,
regardless, it would effectively cut off some 5,000 Palestinian residents
from their lands, schools, hospitals and workplaces. The longer term
effect of the fence would be to allow Israel to confiscate many acres of
land, Hantash said, may be to force the Palestinians out of their lands
south of the fence to the Green Line (the 1949 UN boundary between Israel
and the West Bank).

[Subsequently, the CPT Hebron Team contacted the US Consulate in Jerusalem
with this information.]

Wednesday 28 December

Members of the team attended the first full day of an international
conference "Celebrating Nonviolent Resistance" at Bethlehem University

In preparation for the forthcoming Palestinian election, a team of
observers from Canada visited the CPT for a tour of Hebron. Despite their
international status, Israeli soldiers prevented them from walking along
Shuhada Street, which is next to the CPT apartment and connects the Beit
Hadassah settlement to the Ibrahimi Mosque.

Thursday 29 December

Gish spoke about CPT at the Bethlehem conference on nonviolence. Sis
Levin, a CPT reservist conducted a workshopfor P