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Non-violent resistance

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Israeli military raids houses in response to attack on checkpoint

Hebron Checkpoint

CPTnet 2 December 2011

A newsletter written by members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams.

On the night of 28 November, a Palestinian man threw two Molotov cocktails at the Israeli military checkpoint in Hebron’s Qitoun neighborhood. In response, the military and border police fired tear gas, entered houses in the neighborhood, and forced about fifty men to stand outside in the cold for almost exactly two hours while they checked their IDs. The military arrested one Palestinian man and detained three more after they allowed the residents of the neighborhood to return to their homes.

At about 10:20 p.m., soldiers came back from one of the houses with clothes that they claimed belonged to the man who threw the Molotov cocktails.

During the incident, Palestinians passing the checkpoint reported that soldiers were beating one of the detained men. Later on, other passersby reported that soldiers were sitting on a man on the ground.

At around 10:40 p.m., the commander declared a closed military zone and ordered internationals to leave the area, including three members of Temporary International Presence in Hebron.

Members of TIPH have a mandate from the Israeli, Palestinian, and European constituent governments to observe the military. When internationals asked the commander to show them the order, he said that he did not have to show it.

The military detained three members of International Solidarity Movement, but released them later.

Military actions that target groups of people in response to the actions of a few are illegal according to the Geneva Conventions.

Introduction to CPT – Palestine

Filmed and produced by Cat Rabenstine for the Christian Peacemaker Teams in Palestine.

CPT delegate writes letter to teargas manufacturer

CPTnet Digest
20 January 2011

Mr. Don Smith, CEO
Combined Systems Inc.
388 Kinsman Rd.
Jamestown, PA 16134

Dear Mr. Smith,

I visited the West Bank with Christian Peacemaker Teams to learn and to promote peace.

What I experienced was quite different.

Our group participated in a peaceful demonstration in the town of Bidu.

The demonstration was intended to protest the Israeli demolition of buildings and
olive orchards on the edge of the town to prepare for building the wall
through this Palestinian community.

It didn’t remain peaceful.

Suddenly we heard explosions and saw clouds of smoke. We did not see soldiers through the trees and brush on the side of the road where the explosions were coming from. But we soon smelled the choking tear gas.

For a time it didn’t feel survivable. Have you ever experienced it?

According to newspaper reports, thirty-five people were injured.

Friends there send me videos almost daily of peaceful demonstrations, with intense responses of gas from Israeli soldiers. This is on Palestinian land, by an occupying army. Can you imagine what life is like for those people?

The inhumanity of it is shocking, but then I learned that you make the gas and canisters.

How can you possibly do that? People are dying from being hit by the canisters or breathing the gas. These are human beings who are trying to survive on land were their families lived for thousands of years.

If knowledge of what you are doing is not enough to make you stop sending those canisters, PLEASE visit the West Bank to see and experience it first hand. What you are doing is inhuman and if you are not fully convinced of that, please go there to see it yourself.



One foot in, one foot out – a tour of a Palestinian village

Today I took a walk through a friend’s village near Bethlehem. The sky was blue and spotted with clouds. It was chilly but the sun peaked through with surprising radiance.

First, he (let’s call him Ahmed) showed me a 4×4 inch cement track that follows one entire length of the village, coming within yards of the school. This tiny bit of cement will, maybe within the year, become part of The Wall built by Israel in this case to separate their settlement from the Palestinian village nearby.

We walked up a dirt road to two demolished houses, the foundation of one home holding the remains of its former walls. The army demolished the houses, saying they posed a security threat. One family lived in a tent for a few months before building a new house.

Standing on top of the rubble, I saw the huge Israeli settlement homes looming above on the highest, closest hill. The houses looked huge and stable, capped with the ubiquitous red roof, a characteristic of Israeli settlement buildings.

We retraced our steps and walked the other way towards the paved settler-road to take pictures of the village from above.

The entire time we walked, the cement track followed us. Ahmed stood with each foot on either side of it, “One day, my left foot won’t be allowed in this spot,” he said.

He hesitated for just a second before we had walked up this hill. He wasn’t supposed to walk on it. He said, “If soldiers come, they all know me by name. We will just run to the Palestinian side.”

Once we reached the top of the hill, Ahmed pointed to three Israeli security cameras. All were pointed at us.

Each time I hear a story like Ahmed’s: homes demolished, livelihood wrecked, school children at risk, land taken, I consider my own family.

If it were my mother’s home being demolished or my brother being harassed daily by soldiers younger than him who haphazardly tote machine guns at their side, I’m not sure how I would react.

Would I try to defend them with violence?

Would I become depressed and feel hopeless?

Would I write about my situation, try to tell the world my story?

I don’t know what I would do, and I believe no one should have to answer this question. But I do know hundreds of Palestinians who have to respond to this question daily.

To read how “Ahmed” and his village have responded, click here.

AT-TUWANI REPORT: The Dangerous Road to Education. Palestinian Students Suffer Under Settler Violence and Military Negligence

CPTnet Digest

4 January 2011

A newsletter written by members of Christian Peacemaker Teams and Operation Dove.

Operation Dove (Nonviolent Peace Corps of Association “Comunit” Papa Giovanni XXIII) and Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) announce the publication of the 2009-2010 report on the Israeli military escort to the Palestinian schoolchildren from the villages of Tuba and Maghayir al-Abeed.

An average of eighteen Palestinian children from the villages of Tuba and Maghayir al Abeed attend school in the neighbouring village of At-Tuwani.

To reach school, the children typically use the primary road that connects their villages with At-Tuwani and passes between the Israeli settlement of Ma’on and the Israeli outpost of Havat Ma’on (Hill 833).

Since 2001, Israeli settlers from Havat Ma’on have routinely attacked the children on their journey to and from school, but it was not until November 2004 that Israeli authorities established a daily military escort.

Despite the Israeli military escort, the children have been victims of violence 104 times between November 2004 and June 2010.

The soldiers carrying out the escort have at times failed to protect the children and have frequently arrived late, causing the children to wait, sometimes for hours, before and after school.

During the 2009-2010 school year, children missed almost twenty-seven hours of school and waited fifty-three hours for military escort after school.

In addition, the soldiers regularly failed to provide a complete escort of the children, almost always leaving the children to walk unescorted beside settlement buildings, in an area where settlers have attacked them.

Despite the children’s right to access education, the military fails to provide a consistent escort for the children. When the military does not arrive, the schoolchildren must take alternative routes that take up to two hours by foot through a rocky, hilly landscape. Furthermore, settlers attack the children and their relatives on these longer paths.

Members of Operation Dove and Christian Peacemaker Teams have had a continuous presence in the village of At-Tuwani since 2004 and daily monitor the military escort of the schoolchildren.

The report, “The Dangerous Road to Education. Palestinian Students Suffer Under Settler Violence and Military Negligence” is available as a PDF. Click here for the PDF document.

SOUTH HEBRON HILLS: Israeli military demolishes three cisterns and two wells in arid region

CPTnet 17 December 2010
A newsletter written by members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams.

SOUTH HEBRON HILLS  On 14 December 2010, the Israeli military demolished three water cisterns and two wells in the arid and hilly Khashem Ad Daraj/Hathaleen region, about twenty-six km southeast of Hebron/al-Khalil on Tuesday. The military gave no reason for the destruction of the wells and cisterns.

The demolitions follow a pattern of destruction of Palestinian property by the Israeli military in the Oslo Accords-defined Area C.

The Israeli army failed to deliver demolition orders to the residents of the villages in the area and instead left them under a stone two days earlier for the residents to find.

The demolished cisterns and wells supplied drinking water to the villagers as well as their sheep and goats, the primary sources of food and income for the villages in the area.

The wells were up to 300 meters deep and over seventy years old, pre-dating the 1967 occupation of the Palestinian Territories. The Israeli military claims that it does not destroy structures created before 1967.

The region receives an average yearly rainfall of between 150-250 mm.*

*Applied Research Institute, Jerusalem & United Nations World Food Programme. February 2010 Report.

AL-KHALIL (HEBRON) REFLECTION: Preparing children for peace

CPTnet Volume 36, Issue 3
A newsletter written by members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams

This autumn, a local businessman alerted three CPTers to the presence of a group of soldiers outside the Ibrahimi School, located in the heart of the Old City.

Upon arrival, the school principal informed CPT that a settler boy, around seven years old, had accused two Palestinian boys from the Ibrahimi School of throwing a rock at him.  Soldiers wanted to enter the school with the settler child to identify and arrest the Palestinian boys, and the school principal responded by saying they would first need to get
permission from the Palestinian Minister of Education.

Over a period of three hours, fifty Israeli soldiers, twenty settlers and Israeli police gathered outside the school. When the Palestinian Ministry of Education told the soldiers that they could not enter the school, the Israeli army disregarded his decision and entered the school with the settler boy in tow.

Two Palestinian boys under the age of eighteen were arrested in front of their peers and taken to the local police station. The Israeli army and police informed the Minister of Education that these arrests were necessary for “maintaining the peace,” because the group of settlers gathered outside the school had threatened to remain and harass the school
children if the police did not arrest the Palestinian boys.

Over the years, people on the Hebron team have witnessed settler children attack Palestinian children many times, and to the best of our knowledge, no police officer has ever taken a Palestinian child into an Israeli school to point out his/her attackers.  Indeed, when adult Palestinians and internationals provide documentation of settler children attacking Palestinian children and adults, police and soldiers usually dismiss them rudely.

The Ibrahimi School incident not only shows the lack of impartiality on the part of the police, but also that settler accusations supersede preserving the educational environment of Palestinian children.

The entry of soldiers into educational institutions signifies to children that schools are not safe places for them, thus creating further barriers to education.

The young settler boy that made the rock throwing accusation was prompted by his father and other adult settlers to demand entry into the Ibrahimi School during school hours. Settler adults brought a number of settler children with them to the school and refused to obey the soldiers instructions for children to leave the scene.

Children need safe environments where they can learn and grow. Unfortunately, what CPT observes here in Al-Khalil is that children, both Palestinian and Israeli, are not being brought up in a spirit of love or respect for others.

The Israeli authorities in this area are not preparing children for a life of peace, tolerance, and equality — a life that all children deserve.

For footage of the Ibrahimi school incident, click here

Wadi Rahal villagers commit to non-violent resistance

In 1975, Wadi Rahal (The Valley of Travelers) villagers built the school where their kids are educated to this day.  Seven months ago, villagers found a map, placed carefully under two rocks so it wouldn’t blow away.  This map was left by Israeli soldiers for villagers to find, it indicated the planned route of The Wall that will be built around the village.  It will be built 10 meters away from their school.

Immediately after finding the map, five college students from Wadi Rahal began organizing non-violent demonstrations against The Wall.  These students, since 2006, have also provided summer camps for the kids in the village, giving them a place to play, English lessons and training in non-violent resistance.  Once, the kids were able to go on a trip to the sea, an opportunity most Palestinian children do not have as the coast is inaccessible by Palestinians.

Wadi Rahal kids enjoying a day at the beach

Wadi Rahal’s 1700 residents live in the shadow of Efrata, one of the largest Israeli settlements in the West Bank.  The settlers control Wadi Rahal’s water, which flows through a shared water pipe that fills the village’s tanks.  During the summer when water is a priceless commodity, villagers say that Efrata cuts their water to one day a week, leaving them to savor the water in their tank for a week.

A mobile clinic run by Palestinian Medical Relief Services comes once a week for three hours.  At other times, villagers must travel to Bethlehem for medical assistance.

Before 6:00pm, the Israeli army locks a gate that separates the highway (route 60) from the road to the settlement and the village.  Once locked up, villagers have to take a much longer, winding route out of the area.

Any noise at night scares the villagers, whose homes are subject to twice-monthly raids.  Israeli soldiers enter the village at night to search a home.  They knock on doors with the butt of their machine guns and, if the door isn’t opened fast enough, the soldiers break it down.  When they leave, the house is ransacked and things are broken.  What they search for, no one is sure.

Every Friday at noon, the college students organize a non-violent demonstration against the impending construction of The Wall.

For more information about Wadi Rahal, please go to their new website here. Without A Map will be working Wadi Rahal villagers to complete their website and upload more interactive elements.  Stay tuned!

Ahava Flashmob

The Bathrobes Brigade has contacted numerous Dutch magazines to inform them about the ugly truth of Ahava beauty products and requested that they do not advertise for this product of stolen beauty.

Princeton Sabra hummus vote

PRINCETON, N.J. — Princeton University students voted Monday in a referendum by a pro-Palestine student group on whether to expand the school’s hummus offerings.

The student group Princeton Committee for Palestine wants university-run stores to offer alternative brands of the Middle Eastern chickpea dip because they say the only brand available is linked to human rights violations.

The brand, Sabra, is owned by PepsiCo and Strauss Group, and Strauss’ website says it supports members of the Israeli military.

The group has been pushing for the university to boycott and get rid of its investments in companies that make donations to parts of the Israeli military that it says violate human rights.

Ilya Welfeld, a spokeswoman for Sabra, which has headquarters in Queens, N.Y., and Richmond, Va., said Sabra only makes donations in North America — and none of them are political.

But the Strauss Group, an Israeli food conglomerate, says on its website that it makes contributions for the “welfare, cultural and educational activities” of members of the Israeli military.

Students seeking the referendum made it happen by collecting 200 signatures. If the effort is successful, it would mean the student government would make a formal request to the Ivy League school’s administration to provide additional brands of hummus.

The pro-Israel student group Tigers of Israel opposes the referendum. The group says the allegations raised by the other side are sketchy.

The results of the vote are scheduled to be released Friday.

The referendum was originally scheduled for last week but was canceled then because of a goof: The wording called for Sabra hummus not to be offered at university stores rather than for additional products to be sold, too.

—Copyright 2010 Associated Press

Read the original article on wsj.com here