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No News is Good News

Dec 14th, 2007, Hebron

Today roughly 15 internationals and Palestinians joined the Jabri family of Hebron (AKA al-Khalil) for a mid-morning action on the Jabri family land. The Jabri land is uncomfortably nestled between two particularly notorious Jewish settlements, Kiryat Arba and Givat Ha’avot. The expansion of these settlements onto the Jabri property–meaning the theft and colonization of Palestinian land–is currently a work in progress. The Jabri family, with support from Israeli and international solidarity activists, continue to nonviolently resist this process of expropriation..

Trespass is the first step in the annexation/colonization of land. Settlers first assert a claim to Palestinian land by illegally occupying it; in this case, settlers from Kiryat Arba and Givat Ha’avot have constructed a brick walkway through the middle of the Jabri land, connecting the two settlements. They have also built a 12- by 14-foot tent-like structure which they use as a synagogue on the land. Under Israeli law, if the structure remains on the land for 10 years, ownership of the land will be transferred to the settlers. It has been there for seven.

As of today, the Jabri family still has possession of their land. To stop the process of expropriation, the Jabri family went to court and, surprisingly, won a decision allowing them continued access to their own land, even though settlers had already asserted a claim to it. Now every Friday for several months, internationals and Palestinian human rights activists support the Jabri family by helping to work the land. This regular presence of the Jabri family and supporters working the lands is often met with violence and harassment by Kirtyat Arba and Givat Ha’avot settlers.

Today was much like other Fridays–we dug up some brush, cleared away some weeds, tilled the soil a bit — except for one thing: no trouble. Twice during our midmorning efforts a lone settler walked either down or up the path which cuts the Jabri land in half, but not once did a stone get thrown our way, and not once did any settlers attack or attempt to disrupt today’s work. In fact, the settlers, for the most part, were nowhere to be seen. We had our friends, our tea, and all the sunshine and fresh air you could want.

For once, it really was a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

Watch two videos of other actions on the Jabri family land: