Photo Essay…

During the winter days in the Hebron District, Israeli army demolitions, incursions, and threats of demolitions were everyday signs of the times. Soldiers in 55 Israeli military jeeps stormed the village of Beit Ummar on February 13, 2008. CPTers arrived to accompany villagers and document the siege.

Team members Kathie Uhler and Mary Wendeln stayed overnight there under curfew with Palestinian friends while soldiers occupied 55 homes. The team compiled this photo story, along with recent pictures from the Beqa’a Valley, and an historic scene: Hebron under a foot of snow.

Beit Ummar Under Siege, February 13, 2008…
1: On route 60, the Israeli army demolished part of the stone works shop of Adham Abu Maria (far left).
2: Israeli soldiers dragged away a trailer from a plot adjacent to the stone works shop. Moussa Abu Maria stands by the wreckage. The Abu Maria family home is in the background.
3: The Israeli military demolished the wall around a home under construction and set up a road block (background); CPTer Mary Wendeln (foreground) documents destruction of the water supply for three towns at the same corner.
4: Wendeln meets with the new mayor of Beit Ummar, Nasari Sabarneh, as he surveys Israeli damage to the town, including three shops, an office, a house, and the construction of numerous roadblocks. By Sabarneh’s second day in office he had defied the army’s curfew and removed all their roadblocks.
5: Wendeln inspects the door where soldiers broke into a printing shop.
6: In the shop, soldiers looted cameras and other specialized equipment. Guide Moussa Abu Maria shows papers certifying the owner to print passports and other legal documents, the only such business for several surrounding villages.

Beqa’a Valley Threatened With Demolitions, February 11, 2008…
7: CPTer Eileen Hanson and Beqa’a Valley resident Atta Jaber discuss the Israeli army’s threat to demolish the health clinic under construction (foreground). Valley residents are building this clinic without governmental or outside funding, even though many have little or no paid employment. Israeli officials refused to grant a building permit despite the difficulties residents encounter in reaching other health facilities outside the valley. Some 700 people, mostly women and children, will use the new clinic for routine medical care, including prenatal checkups and vaccinations. Palestinian Relief and CARE International currently provide these services one day a week operating out of residents’ homes and other inadequate facilities.
8: The army also imposed demolition orders on 15 homes in the Beqa’a Valley, including the home next door to the clinic (its second floor and porch). Those orders expired on February 14 with no demolitions occurring. CPTers were present at the clinic each day of the final week that the orders were in effect. A new set of demolition orders is expected sometime in March.

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