Hebron Special Update
Gaza death toll reaches 100; Hebron responds
March 2, 2008
As our Palestinian neighbors react with horror at television images of dead babies in rubble in Gaza, and the Israeli army vows to continue the onslaught there, Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) in Hebron notes the dangerous escalation here as well. This afternoon in Hebron the Israeli army killed a twelve-year old Palestinian boy with a fragmenting dumdum bullet through the chest. Last week Israeli Special Forces invaded a Beit Ummar home and later the same night invaded Hebron and confiscated properties of Islamic charities. Yesterday in Beit Ummar an Israeli settler from Karme Tsur settlement fired toward unarmed Palestinians trying to prune trees on their land. Following is a partial summary.
February 25, early evening Home invasion in Beit Ummar
CPT, ISM (International Solidarity Movement), and Taayush (Israeli group) responded to a call from Beit Ummar. Israeli masked Special Forces entered a family home. They threatened to detonate a teargas canister in the room where the bedridden father, disabled by a stroke, was resting. They physically assaulted the sons of the family, and made leering glances at the teen-aged women. CPTers Jessica Frederick, Jan Benvie, and Tarek Abuata arrived on the scene and the soldiers left shortly after.
February 25, midnight Invasion and confiscation in Hebron
At midnight 25 February Israeli Special Forces in ten jeeps and two armed personnel carriers (APC) invaded the Palestinian-controlled area of Hebron (H1) and confiscated properties of the Islamic Charitable Society as well as adjacent properties. 3000 children attending schools funded by the society will be forced out of school The Hebron district Israeli military commander, Yehuda Fuchs, handed confiscation orders issued by General Gadi Shammi, the Israeli military commander of the West Bank, authorizing the Israeli military to confiscate several properties, including those of Abdel Khader Al Kasey, a Hebron resident who lives with his two sons and their families over four shops that the Israeli military plans to confiscate.
Al Kaseys son, Issa, and Tarik Sharif, whose five year- old son received an eviction notice from his nursery school as part of the same military operation, visited the CPT apartment March 1, showed CPT the orders, and explained their situations.
The military order said the property confiscation was against the Islamic Charitable Society. The commander told Al Kasey they knew he was not with Hamas but they had orders to confiscate his shops. Commander Fuchs also told Al Kasey that none of the peace agreements applied because under emergency law the military can do whatever they want.
Al Kasey has until March 4 (one week after the order was issued) to appeal the confiscation. After March 4 the Israeli army can demolish or seal the shops. After April 1, anyone who enters the shops could face a five-year prison sentence.
Al Kasey showed CPT a copy of the lease. On February 1 he rented three of his shops to a merchant who needed a warehouse to store rice he was importing from Spain and Italy. The merchant, who has an Israeli ID, is appealing the confiscation.
While Al Kasey and his family have no connection with Islamic Charities, the nursery school that Sharifs son Omar attends is funded by The Islamic Charitable Society. Why are they targeting a nursery school? asked Sharif. Islamic Charities help children and old people. The army closed all of the offices and confiscated all of the equipment, even the buses that take the children to school. What will poor people do now?
CPT has already seen some of the consequences of the attack on Islamic Charities. Last week we visited a woman in Hebrons Old City who had no food for her baby. Our interpreter explained, She used to receive food from the Islamic Charitable Society. Now they are closed.
February 28-March 1 Beit Ummar tree pruning
On Thursday February 28 a farmer from the Abu Maria family in Beit Ummar reported that Israeli soldiers were bulldozing the family lands near Karme Tsur settlement to build a security road. On Saturday March 1 internationals, Israelis, and farmers went to the land to prune fruit trees. A settler from Karme Tsur fired his gun in the direction of the Palestinians and internationals.
March 2 Twelve- year old killed in Hebron district; toll in Gaza hits 100 in a five- day period.
CPTer Mary Wendeln and a visitor went to Alia Hospital in Hebron. 75 were wounded, most of them schoolboys.
Source: email from CPT