Home / House Demolitions in Qawawis

House Demolitions in Qawawis

1. House Demolitions in Qawawis
2. IOF invade Hebron market area for fourth day
3. Second Day of Action against Israeli Company Importing Valentine’s Day Flowers
4. Illegal settlement expansion exposed on Bil’in village land
5. Hebron quieter on Day 5 of IOF invasions into H1
6. Hebron Al Aqsa Mosque Protest Ended by IOF Invasion
7. Jordan Valley Isolated
8. Settler attack and occupation of Abu Heikel garden in Tel Rumeida
9. IOF target Hebron youth using photos from photographer-collaborator
10. Protester beaten on head with rifle butt in Bil’in
11. Palestinian home declared Closed Military Zone in Hebron

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1. House Demolitions in Qawawis

A month ago the villagers of Qawawis were informed by Occupation authorities that most of their houses would be demolished within a week. Qawawis, located in the South Hebron Hills, is home to several families totalling around 30 members who live in one concrete building and several other stone and canvas structures. Another stone structure housed international volunteers who used to live there as a protective presence for villagers against settler violence and harrassment.

Villagers employed a lawyer to challenge the IOF’s plans in Israeli courts but, as is often the case with house demolitions, Occupation authorities refused to abide by even their own court’s procedures.

Yesterday at 10am 22 Occupation vehicles invaded the small village and began demolition work. These vehicles comprised IOF, Border Police and DCO* jeeps, Civil Police and two bulldozers, one with a digger.

Most of the village’s permanent residents are elderly whilst most younger members live, work and study in nearby towns. Despite the resistance of these elderly villagers Occupation forces demolished the following:

Three stone and canvas structures belonging to the family of Hajj Mahmoud.
Three stone and canvas structures belonging to the sons of his brother Mohammed, Ibrahim, Abed and Yousef.
One stone and canvas structure belonging to Hajj Khalil used by international volunteers.
One stove house used for baking.

Relatives provided the villagers with tents to sleep in overnight. Despite the frequent settler violence and harrassment faced by villagers and this latest Occupation attempt to drive them from their ancestral lands, villagers vow to rebuild their homes and resist this ethnic cleansing. Groups such as Ta’ayush, Rabbis for Human Rights and ISM have promised to help rebuilding the homes and support the villagers of Qawawis and neighbouring villages in their struggle to retain their land.

Qawawis and other villages in the South Hebron Hills are surrounded by ‘illegal outposts’ – colonies which are illegal even according to Israeli law, but which receive infrastructure such as roads, water and electricity as well as IOF assistance, and which remain in place despite Israeli leaders’ pledges to remove them.

*District Coordination Office – the civilian administration wing of the Israeli military in the West Bank.

For a CPT report and photos visit:
http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2007/02/15/cpt-hebron-demolitions/
For Haaretz coverage visit:
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/826050.html

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2. IOF invade Hebron market area for fourth day

by ISM Hebron, February 10th

Around 7:45 am human rights workers (HRWs), who were monitoring the checkpoint on Tel Rumeida street as Palestinian children made their way to school, watched as the IOF started doing military exercises. The soldiers simulated being under attack, shouted and pointed their guns at the children passing by on their first day of school after the holidays. The same procedure was repeated at the entrance to the children’s school in Shuhada Street and again around 11:30 at checkpoint 56. These events took place in full view of the young schoolchildren walking home. The HRWs observed the children were frightened and intimidated.

Around 11:45 three boys were taken to checkpoint 56 by the soldiers. They were handcuffed and questioned. One of the boys was released and two of them were taken to the police station.

At around 14:30, after the soldiers invaded Palestinian controlled H1 for the fourth consecutive day, clashes broke out between Palestinian youth and the IOF. The youth threw stones whilst the IOF reacted by shooting tear gas and rubber bullets. The Bab-al-Zawiya market was closed again causing further damage to local businesses.

Several shoppers and shopkeepers suffered severe tear gas inhalation including one shopkeeper who was knocled out by the gas and had to be helped by youth to an ambulance.

One local was seen being shot with a rubber bullet and several others were reported being taken to hospital suffering the effects of tear gas inhalation.

Today’s confrontation lasted for about 3 hours. Two Palestinian men were taken to hospital: one due to tear gas and another was shot with a rubber bullet. One Palestinian man was arrested.

Palestinian photographer Abdulhafeez Hashlamoun was abducted by the IOF as he was documenting a local resident being assaulted by the IOF .

For photos visit:
http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2007/02/10/hebron-day-four/

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3. Second Day of Action against Israeli Company Importing Valentine’s Day Flowers

by Boycott Israeli Goods, February 11th

Thirteen Palestine solidarity protesters from London and Brighton are blockading the UK base of an Israeli agricultural export company Agrexco (UK) Ltd, Swallowfield Way, Hayes, Middlesex.

This is the second day of action against Agrexco on one of their busiest weekends of the year. Agrexco are dealing with large amounts of Israeli flowers in the build up to Valentine’s Day. On Saturday over a hundred protesters stood in front of the gates of the depot and deliveries had to be rescheduled.

Agrexco is Israel’s largest exporter of agricultural produce into the European Union, and is 50% Israeli state owned. It imports produce from illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

This morning activists locked themselves to both gates of the Hayes depot. They were met with violence by privates security guards from First Class Protection. The blockade is currently stopping all motor vehicle traffic in and out of the building.

Before taking part in this action many of the defendants had witnessed first hand the suffering of Palestinian communities under the brutal Israeli occupation. They do not accept the UK’s complicity in the illegal occupation of Palestine and see the presence of this company as a violation of human rights.

BACKGROUND

Carmel-Agrexco is 50% owned by the state of Israel, and imports produce from illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. At the same time Israeli forces have blocked Palestinian exports on grounds of ‘security’.

Israeli state sponsored settlements have appropriated land and water resources by military force from Palestinian farmers in a deliberate policy of colonial settlement.

In a hearing in September the judge ruled that Agrexco (UK) must prove that their business is lawful.

Photos/Interviews, Call 0044 7845039980, email [email protected]
http://www.bigcampaign.org/

for photos visit:
http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2007/02/11/valentine-blockade/
for video visit:

for Jerusalem Post articles visit:
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1170359844307&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1170359859719&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

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4. Illegal settlement expansion exposed on Bil’in village land

by the ISM media team, February 11th

Villagers from Bil’in today accessed their land on the other side of the annexation barrier in order to plant trees. The Israeli Supreme Court had previously ruled that this land, which has been built on for the expansion of the illegal Matityahu East settlement, rightfully belongs to the vilage of Bil’in and that all settlement activity must stop.

Despite this, construction companies have continued to expand the infrastructure of the illegal settlement. Whilst digging today Bil’in villagers uncovered water pipes and phone lines under this land in violation of the Supreme Court ruling, which ruled that this land shouldn’t be used as a utility right of way for the settlement.

Two weeks ago a Planning Board in Beit El composed of IDF and settler representatives, approved a new scheme for the settlement, retrospectively legitimising the illegal construction in Matityahu East. The villagers of Bil’in are appealing this decision in the Supreme Court.

At today’s tree planting Bilin villagers were joined by around 30 international and Israeli supporters. Despite not being allowed through the gate from the village, these supporters weren’t deterred and managed to find a way round.

The water pipes and phone lines were discovered at the depth of about 1 metre. This land had contained settlement buildings which were demolished after a Supreme Court ruling six months ago.

On their way back to the village the group passed by the Bil’in outpost where villagers have been living in huts on the other side of the Wall for over a year.

When they reached the Wall the internationals were again told they couldn’t pass through with the villagers. One villager was pushed against a fence whilst another was detained for two hours in a tent, blindfolded and handcuffed, before being released.

for Israeli TV coverage visit:
http://mishtara.org/blog/?p=152
for Anarchists Against the Wall article visit:
http://www.awalls.org/uncovering_the_lies_of_the_civil_administration_in_the_lands_of_bilin

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5. Hebron quieter on Day 5 of IOF invasions into H1

by ISM Hebron, February 11th

Today IOF soldiers occupied the roofs of three high buildings overlooking the Bab al-Zawiyya market area in Palestinian controlled Hebron (H1). For the fifth day in a row soldiers have been entering this busy commercial part of the southern West Bank town. Their presence in the past few days has sparked clashes with local Palestinian youth resulting in arrests and injuries due to tear gas and rubber bullets.

At around 4 pm a group of six soldiers used one of the buildings at the top of King Hussein Street and al-Adel street to shoot teargas at groups of young Palestinians.

They also threw down sound bombs and pointed their guns towards the public. Local youth started to throw stones , fireworks and petrol bombs towards checkpoint 56, leading to the Tel Rumeida area. Another group of six soldiers went through the checkpoint and took firing positions behind concrete blocks.

After all Palestinians had fled from the market area the soldiers retreated into Tel Rumeida.

For photos visit:
http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2007/02/11/hebron-day5/

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6. Hebron Al Aqsa Mosque Protest Ended by IOF Invasion

by ISM Hebron, February 12th

Today about 800 people demonstrated in central Hebron against the Israeli excavations near the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. A coalition of all the major parties had called for the protest. The demonstrators gathered at 3pm at the al-Hussein mosque where passionate speeches were made. During the whole demonstration slogans were shouted. Flags and banners from a variety of organisations were carried.

The demonstration was supposed to end at checkpoint 56 in the Bab al-Zawiya neighbourhood. However, the demo ended at Manara Square because for the sixth day about thirty IOF soldiers invaded the market area.

Again, clashes broke out as Palestinian youth reacted to the soldiers by throwing stones at them. Like the day before, the army occupied a building overlooking the market, firing teargas and rubber bullets at Palestinians.

Burning barricades were erected as the protesters waved Palestinian flags and slogans were chanted to vent their anger about the events in Jerusalem. The soldiers repeatedly provoked the protesters, yelling at them to get closer. One man, Hatem Qameze, was violently arrested and taken to the police station. At the checkpoint soldiers were aggressive towards local residents and internationals as well. At around 6pm the army went back to their position behind checkpoint 56.

for photos visit: http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2007/02/12/alaqsa-demo-hebron/

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7. Jordan Valley Isolated

by Jamil Husni,

After having finished a hard-working day in the area, three Palestinian Water Authority employees reached al-Hamra checkpoint in the Jordan Valley, on their way to Ramallah. The Israeli army refused to let them through, claiming that their permits are for West Bank checkpoints only.

Othman Sheikha, the wells’ observer in the West Bank said of his arguement with an Israeli soldier: “He demanded special permits to enter the Jordan Valley, other than the permits we have.”

His colleague, who seemed to be less nervous than him said “in order to reach a village or agricultural area in the Jordan Valley, you have to prove to the Israeli army that you are not a West Bank resident.”

He added: “Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley are one issue,” referring to Israeli intentions to dominate these two vital areas.

Israel prevents all West Bank residents from entering the Jordan Valley under security pretexts. This is a real yet unofficial Israeli policy implemented by the army in an area they call the eastern isolation area.

“The next goal for Israel is the Jordan Valley or 30% of the West Bank. There are procedures that Israel does in secret and in public to annex the Jordan Valley and to isolate it from the rest of the West Bank” says Hami al-Masri, a political analyst.

Issa Zboon, director of Geographic Information Systems Unit in the Applied Researches Institute (Areej), said that the area of the eastern isolated zone, from the eastern mountains to the Jordan River, is about 1555 km². According to him, Israel has in effect completed its isolation of the Jordan Valley at the beginning of last year. Even before that, all West Bank residents were forbidden to enter the area due to a law commonly known as the “Identity Law”.

This law, which is enforced by Israeli soldiers at all checkpoints surrounding the isolation zone, forbids non-residents of the Jordan Valley from entering the isolation zone. The soldiers would check the ID card of each passenger to make sure non-residents stayed out, hence the name of this effective policy.

Israel has never issued such a law officially, and always claimed that the procedures in the Jordan Valley are security procedures and not politically motivated. Practically one third of the West Bank is out of bounds for Palestinians.

Zboon said the isolated zone constitutes 27% of the West Bank area, which totals 5561km². Another 10% of the West Bank is in the western isolation zone, behind the wall. The link between the eastern and the western isolation zones, which the Israeli government is trying to establish, is a strip of land taking up to 6% of the West Bank.

“This is stated in the Kadima project about unilateral disengagement and drawing final borders of Israel within 10 years.” Zboon clarified.

“Israel is not wasting time creating facts on the ground, thus making negotiations impossible.”

The checkpoints of the Jordan Valley are so impressive and thorough it gives the impression of crossing the Green line. They are very similar to those on border crossings between countries.

Dr. Ayman Daraghmeh, a PLC member from Tubas, said what Israel doing in the Jordan Valley area has “obvious political goals.”

“There is no Palestinian state without the Jordan Valley borders and real geographic continuity,” said al-Masri.

Palestinians depend on the Jordan Valley for their food and water. The area underwent during the initial years of the Israeli occupation a massive settlement campaign, termed by occupation authorities the “Israeli agricultural settlement”.

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8. Settler attack and occupation of Abu Heikel garden in Tel Rumeida

by ISM Hebron, February 15th

On Monday 12th February at 3:45pm, a settler women with about 8 children went to the Tel Rumeida hill. The settler children, aged 8-10 years old, started to throw stones at Palestinian children who were playing football underneath the hill. A settler women started to cut the fence of the Abu Heikel garden and got inside with a few children.

Members of the Abu Heikel family called the police but were afraid of having a confontation with the settlers and so they left the occupiers in the garden until the arrival of the police. Some of the settler children went to the Wad Alhareya street next to the Jabal Alrahmah mosque, where they attacked the Al Saafeen local shop with stones.

Meanwhile, one of the soldiers approached the settlers occupying the garden and soon spoke with the settler women who were still in the garden. He didn’t take any action against them and left.

A police jeep arrived 40 minutes later and after long discussions with the settlers, the family left and went to the Wad Alhareya street where already many settlers, soldiers and police had gathered.

After the arrival of the police in this street which is under Palestinian control (H1), the group of young settlers who attacked the local shop blamed two Palestinian children, Amjad Amro and a boy of the Hadad family, both around 14-years old, for attacking them with stones.

The same women and the child who were in the Abu Heikel garden were walking in the street. One of the local Palestinian boys walked passed them, then the settler child pointed at him and said that he had attacked him. Safwat Shweikee, about 13-years old, was subsequently arrested and started crying as the soldier took him away. All three Palestinian children were arrested and spent 5 hours at Kiryat Arba police station.

Then the soldiers aggressively forced all the local shops to close although most of them are in Palestinian controlled H1. About 5:15pm the settlers, police and soldiers left the street.

During the incident a HRW was attacked by a settler child while he was taking pictures of the scene. A police man who stood next to them didn’t react.

for photos visit:
http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2007/02/14/tr-12-02-07/

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9. IOF target Hebron youth using photos from photographer-collaborator

by ISM Hebron, February 15th

At around 2 pm human rights workers (HRWs) witnessed a young Palestinian man, Jihad Salfi Arab, beingd arrested by soldiers near checkpoint 56 in Tel Rumeida. He was violently pushed through the checkpoint where soldiers handcuffed and blindfolded him.

The IOF soldiers carried copies of pictures taken from the clashes last week in the Bab al-Zawiya area. They said he was visible in one the pictures, but wouldn’t show this to the HRWs. The Palestinian young man was then taken to the police station.

Throughout the afternoon IOF soldiers invaded the Bab al-Zawiya neighbourhood in Palestinian controlled H1. At around 2:30 pm 30 soldiers went through checkpoint 56. Six soldiers occupied the roof of a high building overlooking the busy market area and pointed their guns at the crowds below. Another group of six soldiers walked in the direction of the Old City. Four other soldiers entered a woman’s clothes shop and a pharmacy on al-Adel street and investigated the area. HRWs who were present assumed that they were looking for Palestinians who had been throwing stones during last week’s clashes.

The HRWs witnessed how for the past two days, soldiers at checkpoint 56 had been comparing young Palestinians with pictures taken from the clashes. These pictures were given to them by an Argentinian “photographer” who had become a good friend of the soldiers since the beginning of the clashes, last week on Wednesday. Federico the “photographer” has become a helpful partner for the IOF in recognising and arresting wanted Palestinians. Soldiers asked him to take pictures which he generously did.

For the second day in a row, settlers invaded a temporarily vacant Palestinian house in the Tel Rumeida neighbourhood, on top of a hill overlooking the olive grove. About 15 settlers, women and children, arrived at 4 pm and stayed for one hour, until the arrival of the police, who were called by the nextdoor Palestinian neighbours. When HRWs heard about the occupation, they went to the house, but both the police and the IOF soldiers did not allow them to stay, claimimg it’s an “army zone”. The HRWs saw that Hebrew letters had been painted on the walls. The Palestinian neighbour said that yesterday the settlers managed to stay for a few hours in the house, but were finally sent away by the police. Yesterday the area surrounding the house had been sealed off by the IOF, making it impossible for HRWs to get near to the house.

for photos visit:
http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2007/02/15/photographer-snitch/

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10. Protester beaten on head with rifle butt in Bil’in

by the ISM media team, February 16th

At today’s demo against the Apartheid Wall in Bil’in the IOF lashed out at the peaceful protesters, inflicting 11 injuries, including one head wound. As Israeli activist Koby Snitz was attempting to protect a Bil’in villager, the crown of his head was cut open with a rifle-butt blow. His head was bandaged up on the scene and he was subsequently hospitalised.

Also targeted today was Reuters cameramen from Bil’in, Emad Burnat, who spent three weeks in prison last October on trumped-up charges. Emad was shot in the leg with a rubber bullet.

Villagers today celebrated the release of another villager abducted and held on trumped-up charges, Farhat Burnat, who was released yesterday after two weeks in detention. In line with the treatment of other peace activists from the village, Farhat was released on the large bail sum of NIS 5000 and the condition that he not attend a demo for two months despite the military judge criticising the violent behaviour of the IOF. Unable to dispute the video evidence of IOF brutality the judge, as always, nevertheless obeyed the wishes of the Occupation prosecutors.

As in previous weeks the IOF stormed through the gate in the Wall to disperse the peaceful protesters who stood their ground. The range of military brutality today encompassed the use of metal sound grenades as knuckle-dusters and throwing sound grenades two at a time among the protesters. In addition to Koby’s head wound, another Israeli activist was deliberately shot with a sound grenade at close range.

Eight of the village youth were shot with rubber bullets and as the protesters dispersed after the demo, multiple volleys of tear gas were fired at them.

Next week’s demo marks two years of consecutive Friday demos in Bil’in and large numbers are anticipated.

for photos visit:
http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2007/02/16/bilin-16-02-07/

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11. Palestinian home declared Closed Military Zone in Hebron

by ISM Hebron, February 16th

Around 10 am a group of human rights workers (HRWs) heard that colonists had entered a Palestinian house overlooking the olive grove on Tel Rumeida Hill. For the past two days colonists had occupied the house briefly, but were sent away by the police.

The house is rented to local Issa Amro, who received the rental contract from owner Ilham Siyej two days ago in order to make a living in the area surrounded by olive trees. Ilham, her husband and their seven children were forced out three years ago by colonist violence. Until recently the house was used as an IOF post. Yesterday the Hebron police were informed that Issa was going to move in and said there was no problem, so it is very suspicious that the colonists had preempted Issa.

When the HRWs arrived the settlers had left already, but it didn’t take long before IOF soldiers came by.

They stated that the house is a “closed military zone” and that the HRWs couldn’t be there. The soldiers were told that the house is owned by a local Palestinian, who was on his way to start making repairs in the house. The IOF soldiers replied that the HRWs now had to leave because they were trespassing on “private property”. The HRWs decided to wait for the rightful owner to come, while the soldiers called the police.

The HRWs then went to wait in a neighbouring Palestinian house. When the owner of the “closed military zone” arrived the HRWs walked up to the house again and started to remove razor wire and camouflage nets, because in recent months the house had been used as a military post.

Again IOF soldiers came by and demanded that everybody leave and stop removing the razor wire. The group, now also supported by Israeli activists, moved a few metres from the house to wait for the arrival of the police. When the police came they showed the owner and HRWs a piece of paper written in Hebrew, saying it was the official document declaring the house a closed military zone. Issa Amro demanded that the document be translated into Arabic, but this was ignored by the police and military. Occupation authorities said that Issa had to get a permit from the DCO.* After translation it transpired that the order is valid for 24 hours, until 12 noon tomorrow.

To avoid a confrontation and possible arrest, the owner decided to leave the house and its surroundings. The HRWs left the hilltop escorted by a group of five soldiers.

Tel Rumeida contains hundreds of empty houses and shops, whose residents have been forced out by colonist violence and military orders. Issa aims to reverse this trend: “all these houses in Tel Rumeida are lying empty whilst there is an acute housing shortage in the rest of the city. The Israeli authorities can’t continue to deny residents of Hebron their basic rights to live in their homes. We will not submit to the ethnic cleansing policies of the Israeli authorities in our city. I will exercise my right to live in a house I have rented in my city.”

Three years ago colonists started building a road that would cut through the olive grove where the house is located in order to link the Tel Rumeida colony at the top of the hill and Shuhada Street in the Old City. A Stop Work Order was issued temporarily halting construction of the road.

*District Coordination Office – the civilian administration wing of the Israeli military in the West Bank

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Later in the afternoon HRWs went down to monitor checkpoint 56 in the Tel Rumeida neighbourhood. Around 3 pm they heard a rubber bullet being fired followed by teargas on the other side of the checkpoint. HRWs went through the container checkpoint dividing H1 and H2 and into the Bab al Zawiya market area.

As teargas wafted though the air, locals said that a young Palestinian man had been shot with a rubber bullet. He had been taken away to hospital in a private car. Witnesses stated he was about 15-years old and was shot in the leg by invading IOF soldiers.

More soldiers started to enter the Bab al-Zawiya area, around 4 pm about thirty of them patrolled the neighbourhood and occupied two rooftops. After an hour they returned to their jeeps behind the checkpoint in Tel Rumeida.

for photos visit:
http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2007/02/16/cmz-home-tr/

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