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Militant Settlers Attack 79 Year Old Human Rights

1. Militant Settlers Attack 79 Year Old Human Rights Worker in Hebron
2. Apartheid ‘Closed Military Zone’ In Hebron
3. Stanford Daily: ‘Activists describe West Bank violence’
4. Mansour’s Journal: Yesterday I was denied entry to my village
Biddu

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1. Militant Settlers Attack 79 Year Old Human Rights Worker in Hebron
April 20th, 2006

Militant supporters of the illegal settlers of Hebron attacked Human Rights Workers (HRWs), Palestinian teachers and children at approximately 7:40 this morning.

The small team of HRWs were on the street this morning ready to protect Palestinian children on their way to school. Attacks on Palestinian children are common, and tension in the area has been high during the Passover holiday period, when the settlers receive thousands of visitors who support their extreme militant actions.

While the HRW team waited for the children, a bus from Jerusalem full of young settler supporters arrived at the end of the street. About 15, aged in their late teens or early twenties got off the bus and gathered at the end of the street. Within minutes they walked up the street, heading for the HRWs and some Palestinian teachers and children.

They started to throw stones, and yelled ‘We’re going to kill you!’ A Danish camerman from the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) started to film, and immediately became a target for the settler group. The cameraman ran away. The settler group then attacked the other human rights workers, including Sister Anne Montgomery (who will be 80 in November) a member of the Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT). She was stoned, as were Tore (29) from Norway, and Karien (46) from Germany. Soldiers from the Israeli Army watched the entire incident and made no attempt to intervene.

Despite being attacked, the HRWs managed to protect two Palestinian teachers and three children who were on their way to the nearby school, which is next door to the settlement. The Palestinians were able to shelter on the first floor of a nearby building.

The attack finally stopped when the police arrived, and the attackers ran back to the settlement. All the HRWs have bruises from kicks, punches, and stones. Anna (21) a Swedish woman from the ISM was wounded by a stone. The HRWs have reported the incident to the police, but if past experience is a guide, the police are unlikely to take effective action against this unprovoked attack.

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2. Apartheid ‘Closed Military Zone’ In Hebron
April 19th, 2006

Over Passover holiday, under the guise of a ‘Closed Military Zone’
(CMZ) the Israeli authorities in Hebron have been excluding Palestinians and international Human Rights Workers (HRWs) from the streets of the Old City and Tel Rumeida areas.

The CMZ order has been selectively applied against Palestinians and
HRWs since the Passover holidays started, while Israeli settlers in the area and thousands of Israelis visiting the settlements in the Old City and Tel Rumeida areas have been allowed to walk freely around the H2 area without being subject to the military closure, making the CMZ in effect an apartheid order.

From the rooftop of their enforced confinement in their apartment in the Tel Rumeida area, HRWs have witnessed soldiers pointing their rifles at Palestinian children to drive them indoors, when they had come outside to play football. Palestinians in general have been largely forced off the streets.

Two days ago, HRWs had been physically removed from the Tel Rumeida by the military as they cleared the street for the settler-supporting Israeli visitors. At 7am on th 19th of April, the order was said by the military to have been extended until an undisclosed date. However, soldiers have yet to produce a copy of this alleged new order.

For a copy of the previously issued CMZ order, see palsolidarity.org

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3. Stanford Daily: ‘Activists describe West Bank violence’
April 20th, 2006

For photos see:

http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2006/04/20/stanford-daily-activists-describe-west-bank-violence/

By Katherine Cox
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
from The Stanford Daily

(http://daily.stanford.edu/tempo?page=content&id=20094&repository=0001_article)

Two young human rights activists spoke last night about the Palestinian population of Tel Rumeida, Hebron, a West Bank neighborhood that also contains some of what were considered the most fanatical Israeli settlements. The event’s sponsor, Stanford’s Coalition for Justice in the Middle East (CJME), brought the co-founders of a fledgling human rights project stationed in Tel Rumeida, 24-year-old Chelli Stanley and 35-year-old John Harmer, to campus as the group observes Palestinian Awareness Month.

The lecture, entitled ‘Tel Rumeida: Life Under the Occupation,’ was the first in a series of related events extending into early May.
Yesterday’s lecture - which also featured footage captured by project volunteers in the neighborhood - precedes a second lecture on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. by Palestine’s Deputy Ambassador to the U.N. Riyad Mansour in Cubberley Auditorium.

Stanley, originally from Maine, is a sociologist whose vision to establish the first permanent international presence in the neighborhood coincided with that of artist John Harmer. Harmer’s previous work examined the military industrial complex through sculpture.

Yesterday’s joint lecture, accompanied by a slide presentation, enumerated the ways in which the speakers said Palestinian residents of Tel Rumeida were terrorized - witnessed and documented by the speakers - by two bordering settler communities. The speakers related anecdotes of torture and abuse.

‘One morning, a Palestinian boy was leaving to go to school and was surrounded by five adult male settlers, one of which put a battery operated power drill to his chest,’ Stanley said. ‘This is a tactic they’ve been using against the children in the neighborhood.’

The boy survived and was not hospitalized, but the psychological impact of the act, Stanley suggested, breeds fear in the neighborhood’s dwindling Palestinian population.

Another story detailed the abuse of a small child.

‘A female Israeli settler used a rock to pry open a young Palestinian boy’s mouth. She used the rock to grind down the child’s molars,’
Stanley said.

The speakers named what they called the settlers’ other staple methods of abuse. They allegedly included stoning, arson, beatings, destruction of property and violence inflicted by even young Israeli children.

‘Israeli settlers have found a loophole in the law that states that no one under the age of 12 can be held responsible for their actions.

The attacks that appear in the most visible areas are often initiated by very young boys and girls,’ Harmer said.

He explained that though many of the attacks are executed by children who are exempt from the law, violence perpetrated by adult men and women settlers is common and is in no way impeded by the local Israeli police and military.

In fact - the speakers suggested - the oppression Palestinians face in Tel Rumeida is exacerbated by the favoritism of the local Israeli military presence. The activist group reports that, though soldiers are bound by law to protect every individual in the neighborhood, violence against Palestinian residents is apparently openly tolerated.

To illustrate this point, Stanley related a tragedy in which a
Palestinian woman lost two unborn twins during an attack by settlers. According to Stanley, the woman shouted repeatedly for help to nearby soldiers to no avail, and finally resorted to calling the Israeli police. Her son was attacked while the police refused to come to her home. Finally, after hearing the death threats screamed over the phone, the police arrived after a long delay. The woman later miscarried both of her twins and was forced to take a long detour around hostile settlements to reach a hospital.

Harmer claimed that the Israeli police in this area - who have come under fire from Israeli officials for their discrimination of Palestinians - often hang up on Arabic callers before their complaints or emergencies are relayed.

Both speakers began visiting Tel Rumeida in 2005, where they were immediately exposed to the daily life of local Palestinians. The speakers believed their observations warranted documenting, so throughout 2005 the activists filmed incidents of violence which will be compiled into a documentary in two to three months. Many of the clips are available on the Project’s Web site, which allows viewers to download the materially freely.

During their stay in Tel Rumeida, Stanley, Harmer and other international human rights workers acted as human shields against assailants, accompanying Palestinians through the streets and attempting to ward off attacks.

‘We get in between the settler and the person being attacked. We scream at them and videotape the attack. With these settlers we know that we’re not going to stop the violence so we just try to redirect the attacks on ourselves,’ Stanley said.

Stanford was just one stop along a circuit of destinations for Stanley and Harmer, who are touring the United States to raise funds for the Tel Rumeida Project and recruit new volunteers. The project seeks to raise $20,000 in the United States, which will be matched by a human rights agency. Most of the funds will go toward buying new video cameras for the project.

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4. Mansour’s Journal: Yesterday I was denied entry to my village
Biddu

April 19th, 2006

Where should we go then?

After twenty days of being away from my family, I decided to go and spend two days with them. (By the way, my work is in Ramallah city and my village is 30 minutes away to the south of it)

A few weeks ago, the Israeli government closed Qalandia check point in the face of West Bank Palestinians.

Now we have to seek alternative roads to our homes and families.

I went by a road that passes through Al Jib village. Four Israeli border police stopped me on my way and asked for my ID, but after that I would have to go through two gates to reach the services that only carry the Israeli plates.

I showed the soldiers my ID and they started their interrogation:
What’s your name? Where are you going? What were you doing in Ramallah? etc. At the end they gave me my ID, and they asked me IF I HAVE A PERMISSION to my village, which I don’t have because I spent time in prison 3 years ago.

All of that was okay to me, but the strange thing is that their answer was that I am forbidden to cross to my village. I was denied entry to my village. That’s what I never expected to happen to us. They confiscate our land, imprison us with their Apartheid wall, and now deny us entry to our own homes and village.

Where should we go?

-Mansour Mansour

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