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Of Shabbat, Settlers and Destroyed Homes; Reports From Occupied Hebron

by Mary


It was Shabat (25/02/06). In the morning, I was at the crossroad at the top of Tel Rumeida hill, waiting to escort Palestinian children to their homes near the Tel Rumeida settlement. When two girls, who live opposite the settlement arrived, I walked with them up to the soldier outside the settlement. The soldier said to go no further and that he would see the children to their house. I turned to come back to the crossroad. There were three teenage settler boys coming, followed by about ten settler adults. While the soldier’s back was turned, a boy of about 16 came over to me and spat in my face; he was laughing. I called to the soldier and showed him the spit on my glasses. I also indicated which boy was the offender. The soldier was shocked, and the settler adults spoke to the soldier as they passed behind the boys into the settlement.

Later, when I took another group of children up to the soldier, he seemed frightened and asked me to please not come up there. He said that he would see that the children were properly looked after and safe, and more soldiers arrived. I do not know who the settlers threatened – the children, the soldier or me. But I would not want to be the cause of danger so I stayed back.

Beer il Haia 25/2/06

I went with a Palestinian friend to Beer il Haia in H2 ( Israeli controlled Hebron), where the Ajlum and Gait families now live. Four years ago, they moved to Beer il Haia, when they were forced to leave their previous homes behind the Ibrahim (Abraham) Mosque. The families concerned need more accommodation and have been obliged to build without a permit from the IOF (Israeli Occupation Forces). The IOF will not grant permits, saying that the land is zoned for agricultural use. A few days ago, the IOF came with a bulldozer and destroyed a house, a well and a stone shed, which provided shelter for sheep and goats. They are supposed to give notice for such action and they say they did. However, the notice was left on the ground and not handed to the owners of the land and buildings to be destroyed. The owners did not see it.

There are two more houses, which are inhabited but not completely built and which are to be destroyed because they have been built without a permit.

There is great inconsistency between the IOF behavior when dealing with settlers and Palestinians. Here, in Tel Rumeida, we have settler caravans assembled on a street, without permit, and left there for years. Palestinians families, living on that street, are not allowed to use the street and have difficulty reaching their homes. At Beer il Haia, there is plenty of space to build and the land is owned by the families. There are plenty of houses about and there seems to be no good reason why there should not be more. It’s not near a settlement, so that’s not the reason for the IOF’s decision. And, if it is to be agricultural land, why did the IOF destroy the well and animal shed?