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Report + Gush Shalom press release: Hebron pogrom

Report + Gush Shalom press release about pogrom in Hebron -- Internationals obstructed the army's efforts to demolish a house

Report + Gush Shalom press release about pogrom in Hebron

Today, settlers in the West Bank city of Hebron - always notorious for their fanatism and violent behaviour - made the funeral of one of their number, killed two days ago in a Palestinian ambush, into a pretext for a violent rampage and a wide-scale attack on the city's Palestinian inhabitants. Several houses were broken into and set on fire, fifteen Palestinians wounded, some of them severely, and a fourteen year old girl killed. Footage on the Israeli First Channel news showed exactly how it began: the funeral first proceeding quietly, then a bunch of settlers shouting: "Revenge! revenge! revenge!" whereupon the shooting started. Settler leader Moshe Ben-Zimra claimed that the settlers had acted "in self-defence" since the Palestinians had "intended to massacre them" - a bare-faced lie if ever there was one (some 4000 settlers armed to the teeth, protected by hundreds of soldiers in tanks and armoured cars, against Palestinians armed with stones only and held prisoners in their homes by a 24-hour curfew which was reintroduced for the occasion...). Neverthless, the settler version was broadcast for several minutes on the official Israeli TV , without the editors trying to give explicitly any other point of view.

[The following is the translation of the Hebrew press release which we sent tonight.]

"The IDF command and the cabinet minsters bear the full responsibility for the pogrom and murder perpetrated by the settlers in Hebron, under cover of the curfew. The killing of settlers elsewhere provides no justification, nor even a reasonable pretext, for a murderous random assault on Palestinians in Hebron, just as the killing of Palestinian children by the Israeli Army does not provide any kind of justification for suicide bombings aimed at random Israelis. It could have been easily predicted that the settler funeral will be followed by the assault of settlers upon the inhabitants of Hebron - but nothing was done, either by the army or the police and other - to stop it from taking place. The Government of Israel, which allowed the settlers to invade the heart of Hebron and allotted considerable military forces to the task of closely guarding the settlers, is directly responsible for the settlers' acts. A chief part in the responsibilityu rests upon Defence Minister Ben-Eliezer, the leader of the Labour Party." *** Internationals obstructed the army's efforts to demolish a house

[The following amazing report was sent out by the ISM office. Actually, before we saw it, we heard on the Israeli radio at the 1.00 o'clock news that in the Jenin area internationals had obstructed the army's efforts to demolish a house. At about midnight, we made phone contact and it turns out that the stonethrowing was actually done not by soldiers, but by police (sic!) and that meanwhile calm had returned but they are staying also the night in Jenin.]

--------------forwarded mesages -----------------
Date: Sun, 28 Jul 2002 04:15:28 -0700 (PDT)
From: Huwaida Arraf

International Solidarity Movement - http://www.palsolidarity.org

July 28, 2002

For immediate release

INTERNATIONAL ACTIVISTS TRYING TO STOP ISRAELI WAR CRIMES; PREPARING FOR IMMINENT ATTACK IN JENIN

[JENIN] Over 40 international activists have placed themselves in life threatening situations to halt Israeli war crimes being carried out right now in Jenin.

Currently there are three situations:

1. Internationally acclaimed author Starhawk and over a dozen other activists are trying to stop the demolition of several homes near Wadi Birkin. The international peace activists have been tear gassed repeatedly and are gravely concerned about the two Apache helicopters flying overhead firing sporadically. Caiomhe Butterly, Irish, approached a nearby house where she could see approximately 25 men being held and stoned by Israeli soldiers. The area commander began to stone her as well causing injuries to her legs and arms. Soldiers dragged ! her away. The women and children from the homes have been taken by the Israeli forces to an unknown location.

2. The Israeli military has contacted the mayor of Jenin informing him of their intentions to blow up the Nadi Youth and Cultural Center. Internationals with ISM and the French Civil Mission for the Protection of the Palestinian People are planning to enter the center as well as surround it in a human chain.

3. Two tanks and a jeep entered the city center and began firing on Palestinian civilians this morning. Due to local resistance the Israeli army pulled out but are currently en route to the city center again with reinforcements. Activists are in the city center and plan to protect the Palestinian civilians by acting as human shields.

Under the 1949 Geneva Conventions, collective punishments are a war crime. Article 33 of the Fourth Convention states: “No protected person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed,” and “collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.”

International activists and Palestinian civilians call on the members of the press to expose these vicious acts of violence and outrageous war crimes

Ends


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