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Settlers in Hebron Continue Campaign of Harassment and Violence

by Harry and Kyle
July 19-22, 2006

In Tel Rumeida, Hebron, six settler men between the ages of 16 and 25 entered a Palestinian shoe manufacturing shop across the street from the ISM/TRP apartment. They began throwing shoes around, disrupting the work and intimidating the staff. In response, three international human rights workers confronted the settlers verbally and with cameras. When the settlers realized they were being filmed, they left. In order to prevent settlers from entering again, the internationals blocked the entrance of the shop. Eventually, the police arrived but they did not try to prevent the settlers from harassing the Palestinian shopkeepers. Later that day a female settler continued the harassment at the shop and internationals successfully blocked the entrance to the shop once more.

This harassment is a small incident in a pattern of settler violence that internationals have witnessed while working in the area. Two days previously, fifteen settler girls between the ages of 10 and 15, were documented once again threatening Palestinian children. The young settlers threatened a Palestinian boy saying, “I’m going to kill you”, and called them derogatory names including “donkey.” After the settler girls left, the police arrived and warned them not to go near the Jewish children. Later another police officer told the internationals to leave and if not, he would not help them even of they were ‘bleeding from the head.’ The officers blamed the internationals for the harassment and told them that by documenting the settlers, they were provoking them.

One day prior to this, a young settler tore up a recently completed brick path to the Qurtuba School in Tel Rumeida. When the damage was discovered, police were contacted. When they arrived, they refused to get out of the jeep to look at the damage; they simply instructed the internationals to stay away from the construction site to avoid “provoking” the settlers – even though the vandalism took place when human rights workers were not present. The attack at Qurturba School is the latest step in a long campaign by settlers to disrupt the project. The path was created to stop rock attacks by Jewish settlers targeting Palestinian students and teachers. In response to over 10 years of such violence, the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH), agreed to fund the paving of the path with bricks and the installation of fences. Throughout the last few months of construction, settlers have attacked the workers, pulled up the bricks, and smashed much of the retaining wall built next to the path.