Hebron Palestinian Families in Crisis
HEBRON PALESTINIAN FAMILIES IN CRISIS:
SETTLERS ESCALATE VIOLENCE
CPT OFFERS OPPORTUNITIES FOR REPORTERS TO VISIT BESIEGED PALESTINIAN FAMILIES
HEBRON, WEST BANK – Palestinian families in Hebron who live near the Tel Rumeida settlement are in a crisis situation. Tel Rumeida settlers have escalated their violence and harassment of Palestinians over the last two months, as a proposed new settler road (in violation of the Road Map and Hebron Protocols), will further encircle Palestinian homes and expand the settlement. This road is in addition to a recently completed apartment complex inside the settlement. CPT offers opportunities for reporters to access Palestinian families and witness their isolation and the vandalism and harassment they endure daily. Settler attacks include harassment and stoning of Palestinian children on their way to school; blocking access to Qurtuba girl's school; stoning and vandalism of homes and other kinds of violent attacks.
These and many other Palestinian families in Hebron continue to struggle to simply exist, go to work and school, and live in their homes, all the while enduring settler violence and the Israeli military's indifference. These families are available for interviews and are eager to share their stories. Christian Peacemaker Teams can help journalists or camera crews access Palestinian families who are living as virtual prisoners in their own homes for interviews. Access to their homes is increasingly difficult and dangerous for Palestinian families. Reporters will be able to follow the path that Palestinians are forced to walk, past fields and sometimes over roofs, to access their homes. Footage can also be taken of vandalism and racist graffiti.
The Israeli military and police have done nothing to prevent these attacks or prosecute those responsible for their violence, though many complaints have been filed.
Hani Abu Haikel, a long-time resident of Tel Rumeida, recounts how his father refused to leave his home in Tel Rumeida due to settler attacks, saying, "I am at the end of my life. I want to stay." Now, Hani also refuses to leave and calls this "the final battle."
The following is an account of some recent attacks, harassment and difficulties families have experienced:
April 4: Settlers
and Israeli soldiers take over the Siyaj house - April 22:
A settler attacks Mohammed Abu Aisha with a
operated drill. (Picture available)
May 2: Settlers place razor wire and a tree as a blockade to the front entrance of the Abu Haikel house. Palestinians immediately remove blockade. (Picture available)
Settler cars block entrance to Palestinian Qurtuba
girl's school. Settler Anat Cohen slaps CPT member Dianne Roe and shouts while Roe attempts to protect access for Palestinian girls to enter school. "Go to Auschwitz and take all the Arabs with you." - May 4: Settlers vandalize Dr. Tayseer's home. Settlers stone the home and the cut the phone line and water pipes. Border police are present while the vandalism continues unchecked.
March 14: Settlers stone the Al Azzeh family house
Various Dates: Settlers stone the Abu Haikel house and throw rubbish on their garden (Pictures available)
Women and teenage settlers attack Sharabati family sons and detain them
Hani Abu Haikel is stoned while picking and spraying his grape leaves
Rima Abu Haikel, pregnant and in labor, has great difficulty going to hospital on cold, wet night, walking through mud to be able to reach a road because regular access is denied
Israeli soldiers do not allow Israeli police access to the Abu Haikel family
May 5: Israeli soldiers block access to a diplomatic tour group organized by Hebron Rehabilitation Committee. Diplomats include representatives of the Palestinian consulates of South Africa, France, Switzerland, Ireland, and United Kingdom, who were to tour the site of the proposed new road for the use of Israeli settlers from Tel Rumeida only. Israeli soldiers declare the area a closed military zone.
New racist graffiti can be found all over the area: "Gas the Arabs, JDL" (Picture available)