Monday, March 29, 2010

Celebrations of Support for Hebron's Old City + Mentally Challenged 13 y.o. Detained, Blindfolded

Two Video From CPT Hebron
AL-KHALIIL (HEBRON): Unrest continues in Hebron
19 March 2010
AL-KHALIIL (HEBRON): Unrest continues in Hebron

When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced three weeks ago that the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem would be included in a national heritage restoration plan, many Palestinians saw decision as an intentional provocation. Netanyahu chose the week of the sixteenth anniversary of Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein killing twenty-nine Palestinians as they prayed in the Il-Ibrahimi Mosque to make the announcement. Palestinian friends of CPT Hebron told team members they thought Netanyahu wished to incite anger and violence, which would in turn provide justification for military crackdowns and increased land seizures in the West Bank.

Israel also imposed closures throughout the Old City in Jerusalem this past week in preparation for an inauguration ceremony for the newly renovated Hurva synagogue. Palestinians see these renovations and future expansion as a serious threat to the neighboring Al Aqsa mosque. Clashes between Palestinian civilians and the Israeli military broke out in various areas around the Old City in Jerusalem. According to Ha'aretz newspaper, some forty Palestinian civilians and nine Israeli security officers were injured.

Anger spread throughout the West Bank and Hebron over Israeli actions in Jerusalem and Netanyahu's pronouncements about Hebron's Ibrahimi Mosque. On Tuesday, 16 March, Palestinian youth gathered in Hebron, shouting slogans and running down the main street leading into the Old City. The Palestinian Police attempted to disperse them but some youth began to throw stones in the direction of an Israeli military checkpoint. The Israeli military responded with percussion grenades and tear gas. Soldiers also arrested four boys, including a mentally challenged thirteen-year-old (see video clip [second video below, or] at: More Palestinian Authority and Israeli military youth arrests occurred during Wednesday's clashes. CPT received confirmation that most of the boys arrested were later released.

Some of CPT's partners in Hebron see hope in the amount of planning and preparation they are witnessing for nonviolent demonstrations in response to Israel's provocations. Responding to the issue of rising tensions throughout the West Bank, a Palestinian member of the CPT Al Khalil Advisory Council told CPT "We will resist Israeli attacks on our holy places. But we will resist peacefully, not with violence."

Celebrations of Support for Hebron's Old City

Al Khalil/Hebron: Palestinian boy detained, blindfolded. March 16, 2010

More from CPT
AT-TUWANI REFLECTION: Reading and writing, dignity and resistance
from CPTnet stories by kathy_kern
25 March 2010
AT-TUWANI REFLECTION: Reading and writing, dignity and resistance

by Joy Ellison

“They said there are twenty-one kids,” my teammate Jessica told me. She and I were sitting on Khoruba hill, waiting to finish what we call school patrol. She had just spoken on the phone with our fellow CPTers in the village of At-Tuwani. They were waiting for the Palestinian school children to gather after school ended, before the walk to their homes in Tuba and Maghayir al Abeed villages. Our teammates had called to let us know that the Israeli military had arrived to escort the school children past the Israeli settlement of Ma'on and Havat Ma'on settlement outpost. We could expect to see the children soon—all twenty-one of them.

“Twenty-one kids?” I asked, dumbfounded. “Where on earth did they come from?”

“They say that Mohammed* brought them,” Jessica replied. I shook my head, stunned. “Wow,” I said. Then we looked at each other and grinned.

That morning, my teammates and I had observed only five children from Tuba and Maghayir al Abeed arrive at school. A larger group of children had gathered at the appointed location and waited for the Israeli military to escort them to At-Tuwani. Every school day, these children walk between Ma'on settlement and Havat Ma'on settlement outpost and are regularly attacked by adult Israeli settlers. Because these attacks on the children have come to the attention of Israeli and international media, the Israeli military escorts the children and is supposed to ensure their safety.

My teammates and I monitor the escort. Usually that means calling the military and asking, entreating, and cajoling them to escort the children in a timely fashion. Too often, the army refuses to respond and the children are left to face the setters on their own.

That morning after my teammates made several calls to the military, the children were still waiting at 8:10 a.m. Since school had already begun, most of the children returned home, and five children decided to walk through the hills unescorted, on a path where settlers have frequent attacked and harassed them. Thankfully, no settlers approached the children, but my teammates and I felt deflated.

However, while we trudged back to the village of At-Tuwani, Mohammed, the father of some of the children, gathered the kids who had returned home. Abandoning his own plans for the morning, Mohammed walked with them through the hills along a safer path where settlers from Ma’on and Havat Ma’on could not see them. It must have taken them over an hour to reach the At-Tuwani school, but they did. Thanks to Mohammed, fourteen more children had the opportunity to learn that day.

The bravery and determination of the school children of Tuba and Magher Al Abeed and their parents always impresses me. But as I watched all twenty-one kids make their way home, I realized just how highly these families value education. When these children go to school, they're learning more than reading, writing, and math. They are learning what they have to do to live with dignity. They are learning the meaning of resistance.

Palestine Video - A Palestine Vlog

No comments: