Aletho News


Ethnic cleansing of Shuhada Street in occupied al-Khalil (Hebron)

International Solidarity Movement | March 6, 2016

Hebron, occupied Palestine – Since the 1994 Ibrahimi Mosque Massacre, the majority of Shuhada Street – once the thriving Palestinian market and main thoroughfare connecting north and south al-Khalil (Hebron) – has been closed to Palestinians. They are completely barred from accessing it, except for a small stretch in the Tel Rumeida neighbourhood.

Shuhada st split

Photos of the same portion of Shuhada street – a thriving market before 1994, now an empty street where no Palestinians are allowed to enter (published by B’Tselem)

This tiny strip that is legally still accessible for Palestinians is restricted by the recently ‘renovated’ Shuhada checkpoint at the beginning of the street and ends where the street begins to border the illegal settlement of Beit Hadassah, beyond which Israeli forces assure that no Palestinians exist. Further down Shuhada street, clearly marked with yet another military post barring anyone who might attempt to enter the street, are even more Israeli settlements – all illegal under international law – located directly in the city center of al-Khalil.

The settlements on Shuhada Street are connected via a settler-only road to the much larger settlement of Kiryat Arba on the outskirts of al-Khalil; settlers can also reach the illegal Tel Rumeida settlement easily by traversing the tiny stretch of Shuhada Street still open to some Palestinians and the road leading up into Tel Rumeida from Shuhada checkpoint, now encompassed within the closed military zone. While Palestinians are allowed to walk on this part of Shuhada Street, Palestinian vehicles, including ambulances, are forbidden from driving there. Since Israeli authorities declared the area part of a closed military zone on 1st November 2015, the already barely existent access has been further restricted – Isreali forces only allow entry to Palestinians registered with them residents, while any Israeli settler, regardless of whether they are residents or not, can pass freely and without ever being harassed, stopped, detained, arrested, or threatened by the ever-present military forces.

Map of the city center of al-Khalil with Shuhada Street Credit: B'Tselem

Map of the city center of al-Khalil including Shuhada Street (the longest street marked in red) by  B’Tselem

At the line demarcated by Daboya checkpoint (Checkpoint 55), where the illegal settlements on the street begin and Palestinians are no longer allowed, a steep flight of stairs leads up to Qurtuba school and into the Tel Rumeida neighbourhood. These stairs, the only way for Palestinians to continue traveling in the same direction above the street as they are not allowed to continue down Shuhada Street itself, have been closed by the Israeli forces with a metal gate since November 2015.


Stairs with the closed gate leading down to Shuhada Street

Even though this gate is currently not locked, Israeli forces deny any Palestinian, except for the students and teachers of Qurtuba school during school-time, to use these stairs. As a result Palestinian residents of this neighbourhood, once they have passed Shuhada checkpoint – an ordeal that can take several hours – have been denied to reach their homes by walking down Shuhada Street and the stairs leading up to Qurtuba school, forcing them instead to take a much longer detour around. With yet another way denied for Palestinans, navigating the maze of Israeli military-enforced checkpoints, complete bans on travel, roads where Palestinians cannot drive, settler-only roads, closed military zones and new arbitrary closures has become even more arduous.

Israeli forces are thereby also clearly working to minimise the number of Palestinians who will actually use this last portion of Shuhada Street – now a complete dead-end – as they bar Palestinians not only from going farther down the closed street but also declare the stairs, formerly an alternate route, yet another closed zone. This illustrates the Israeli attempts to rid Shuhada Street entirely of Palestinians. Ethnic cleansing in al-Khalil, and all across Israeli-occupied Palestinian lands is not a sudden, headline-grabbing event; it progresses gradually as Palestinians are restricted in certain areas, barred from driving there, prohibited from even being there, forced out to facilitate the expansion of the illegal settlements. Ethnic cleansing happens slowly, by erecting new and ‘fortifying’ existing checkpoints, advancing one more closure at a time.

March 6, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ruthless killing of Palestinian youths in al-Khalil (Hebron)

International Solidarity Movement, al-Khalil team | October 17, 2015

Hebron, occupied Palestine – Today, Israeli forces and Israeli settlers in occupied al-Khalil (Hebron) murdered two Palestinian youth within three hours.

In the morning, Israeli settlers from the illegal settlements within al-Khalil, walked past the 18-year old Palestinian youth Fadel al-Qawasmeh in segregated Shuhada street, cursing him as an ‘Arab’ and then pulled a gun shooting him from point blank range. The settler fired four shots at the Palestinian youth with his pistol, one shot directly in the head. This execution was entirely unprovoked. Israeli soldiers rushed to the scene, but prevented a Palestinian ambulance from treating the critically injured Palestinian youth who was lying on the ground bleeding. Whereas the area around the execution was immediately closed for Palestinians and international observers by the Israeli forces, settlers at all times were allowed to freely stroll alongside the scene of the murder, with soldiers taking pictures with their private phones.

Israeli settlers standing right next to the scene of the execution
Israeli settlers standing right next to the scene of the execution

Later on, Israeli forces blocked all entrances to a Palestinian house nearby where activists where trying to document [events]. In the meantime, settlers from the nearby illegal settlement of Beit Hadassah, watching from down on the street close by a checkpoint were enjoying tea and biscuits, brought from the settlement, with the soldiers and the police. After Israeli forces washed off the blood from the street, they broke into the house where Palestinians had been filming, with 11 children, the youngest only a year old, present. Heavily armed Israeli soldiers searched the house and confiscated all phones and cameras. Once they left the house, they checked all the photos and videos taken after the execution of Fadel, and showed them to the settlers nearby.

Israeli settlers and soldiers sharing tea at the scene of the execution of Fadel al-Qawasmeh
Israeli settlers and soldiers sharing tea at the scene of the execution of Fadel al-Qawasmeh
Israeli soldiers having tea brought by settlers
Israeli soldiers having tea brought by settlers

Palestinians and international human rights observers trying to document this violent attack on a family home were repeatedly forced by Israeli forces to move away from the incident, whereas the settlers were allowed to freely walk around and curse and hurl insults at them, even threatening them that they will be the next to be killed. One Palestinian man was forced by Israeli soldiers to pass through a checkpoint even though soldiers were throwing stun grenades right outside the checkpoint. 23-year old Abed al-Salaymeh was detained in Tel Rumeida for one and a half hours, after soldiers prevented him from going back to his home in segregated Shuhada Street. Different soldiers repeatedly ordered him and internationals to either move up the hill from the checkpoint, or when further up to move back down, all the time prohibiting him from going back to his house. Once up the hill, he was detained for one and a half hours, with soldiers freely admitting that this is because he ‘annoyed’ them before. Settlers passing by were threatening him and internationals that ‘tomorrow they would be the ones to be killed’.

Israeli forces blocking the entrances to a Palestinian house
Israeli forces blocking the entrances to a Palestinian house

Only three hours later, Israeli forces shot and killed 16-year old Palestinian teenager Bayan Eiseleh at the Ibrahimi mosque. Her parents, rushing to the scene of her killing, were brutally attacked and beaten by Israeli forces. International human rights observers trying to document this senseless killing were detained by Israeli forces and then one of them was arrested for ‘taking pictures and posting them online’. She is still being held at the police station in the illegal settlement of Kiryat Arba.

October 17, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

AL-KHALIL: Palestinian property rights under attack; setters attempt multiple land-grabs in Hebron

CPTnet | March 13, 2013
The Al-Rajabi building.

Settlers have won a victory in their ongoing attempt to grab land for a new settlement in Hebron. On 11 March 2014, the Israeli Supreme Court agreed to hand over the Al-Rajabi building in the Old City of Hebron to settlers, despite the grim humanitarian impacts of the decision on Palestinians living in the neighborhood. The Hebron Rehabilitation Committee (HRC) has appealed to the international community to speak out against this violation of Palestinian property rights, and to use all means available to prevent the creation of a new settlement in the Old City of Hebron.

Settlers claimed ownership of Al-Rajabi house on 19 September 2007, when a group of them stormed into the building in the middle of the night. In November 2008, the court found that the settler’s purchase documents were forged and evicted them, placing the building under military control pending a final decision. In reaction, Hebron settlers set fire to Palestinian homes, farms, olive trees, and vehicles in the area. Six Palestinians were injured, two with live ammunition. On 11 March 2014, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that the Palestinian owner of the building must, against his will, accept payment from Israeli settlers in the amount specified in the forged sale documents.

A thirty minute walk from the Al Rajabi building settlers are using “archaeology” to rewrite the history of the city and take control of two large plots of land on top of the hilly neighborhood of Tel Rumeida. On 5 January, Israeli settlers and soldiers uprooted fifty almond trees belonging to the Abu Heikal family, and began digging on two plots of land that surround the family’s home, and which the family has leased and cultivated for sixty-five years.

Since January, the settlers have used heavy earth-moving equipment to remove truckloads of soil from the orchard. Tall metal fences now cut the Abu Heikal home off from the orchard, leaving the house accessible by only a narrow drive. Fencing off the land, which soldiers have declared a “closed military zone,” has also isolated portions of the Tel Rumeida neighborhood, making it difficult for residents to walk to shops and the nearby mosque.

Israelis have unearthed and desecrated what Palestinian archaeological experts believe are three Muslim graves,
constructed on bedrock with stones pointing toward Mecca. Pictured is second of three Muslim graves unearthed by
settlers digging on Tel Rumeida. In this photo, the grave has been partially removed.
This public footpath has been fenced off
and replaced with a longer path with a
gate at each end, leading to these steep
and precarious dirt steps

According to Hamed Salem, chairperson of Birzeit University’s archaeology department, the dig is illegal and is merely an attempt to “advance the settler’s political agenda by using archaeology to justify their presence in Hebron.” An archaeologist from the Palestinian Ministry of Antiquities recently attempted to inspect the site but was denied access. The Israeli Culture Ministry and Civil Administration are financing the dig, and expect it to cost an estimated NIS seven million. Residents of Tel Rumeida fear that because such a large sum has been allocated there may be plans for much greater destruction of surrounding ancient olive trees and orchards. The Abu Heikal family is currently challenging the legality of the excavation in the Israeli Civil Court system.

Roughly midway between the Al Rajabi building and Tel Rumeida, near the Ibrahimi Mosque, settlers are attempting to gain control of five buildings: the Bouderi House and the Tomb of Abner, both directly outside the entrance to the Ibrahimi Mosque, the Ashhab Shops, across the street from the Gutnick Center, which is directly in front of the Ibrahimi Mosque, the Abu Rajab house near Checkpoint 209, and the Al-Sharif House, the front door of which opens onto the street just below the Ibrahimi Mosque. In recent months settlers and soldiers seeking to access the Al-Sharif building have attempted to open the house from the front directly below the mosque by breaking open a welded door, and have repeatedly invaded the home of the Al-Atrash family, which shares an enclosed courtyard with the Al Sharif building. If settlers are allowed to occupy these seven sites the humanitarian impacts on residents of Hebron’s Old City neighborhoods will be devastating. The targeted properties are links in a chain that, if completed, would effectively encircle the Ibrahimi Mosque and link the four existing settlements inside the Old City to the larger settlement of Kiryat Arba, which borders the Old City. This connection would cut off Palestinian neighborhoods and homes from access to schools and services, and would put all of the Old City under increased risk of settler incursions and violence. Currently about 500 settlers live in the four downtown Hebron settlements of Beit Hadassah, Avraham Avinu, Beit Romano, and Tel Rumeida. An additional 7,000 live in Kiryat Arba.

March 14, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | Comments Off on AL-KHALIL: Palestinian property rights under attack; setters attempt multiple land-grabs in Hebron

Jewish settlers beat Israeli activist protecting Palestinians

Ma’an – 09/02/2014

BETHLEHEM – Footage released by a rights group on Saturday appears to show Jewish settlers beating an Israeli activist as he tries to defend Palestinian farmers while Israeli soldiers look on.

The videos released by joint Israeli-Palestinian human rights group Ta’ayush show an Israeli activist who has accompanied Palestinians to their farm lands in the village of Khirbet Shuweika in the South Hebron Hills being assaulted by Jewish settlers.

The videos, which could not be independently verified, also show that after the settlers have beaten the activist, an Israeli soldier approaches the settlers but pats one of them on the back and does not attempt to detain or reprimand them in anyway.

According to Israeli alternative news website +972, the assault occurred around 11 a.m. on Saturday.

An Israeli activist affiliated with Ta’ayush had accompanied local Palestinians after they had been prevented from reaching their lands numerous times in recent weeks by local settlers, even though Israeli authorities recognize the area as private Palestinian land.

The Jewish settlers were from the nearby Eshtemoa outpost, and according to an activist affiliated with the group, none of them were detained by Israeli forces.

Following the attack, the activist went to the Kiryat Arba police station and Israeli authorities said an investigation would be launched into the incident.

Israeli news site Haaretz quoted an IDF spokesperson as saying that the video was “tendentiously edited,” and that Israeli soldiers on the scene had acted to “distance” the settlers and call on police to investigate the incident, as per protocol, according to +972.

In 2013, there were 399 incidents of settler violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

In the last week alone, hundreds of olive trees across the West Bank have been chopped in a number of incidents targeting Palestinian farmers’ livelihoods.

February 9, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Video | , , , , | Comments Off on Jewish settlers beat Israeli activist protecting Palestinians

International activists physically and verbally abused in detention

International Solidarity Movement | January 15, 2014

Occupied Palestine – On Wednesday 8th January, Vincent Mainville and Fabio Theodule were arrested by Israeli border police in Khalil (Hebron).

The two boys were handcuffed and taken to Jaabara police station where they were forced to kneel on the concrete floor for approximately 30 minutes. Fabio was blindfolded with his own keffiyeh and while kneeling he was pushed against the wall by Israeli border police officers and kicked in his legs.

After an hour passed, the makeshift blindfold was removed although their hands remained cuffed behind their backs for the next four to five hours.

Fabio and Vincent were questioned by Israeli forces, both refusing to sign documents that were written in Hebrew. They were went taken to Kiryat Arba police station, fingerprinted and then interrogated once again. Several hours passed and it was only at this point that they were allowed to call their legal representative.

They were transferred to a police facility near Ben Gurion airport where they were made to wait outside in a prison courtyard for two hours. Fabio asked for water and was told by a border police officer, “If you want to drink, you can drink my piss”.

Fabio and Vincent repeatedly asked for jackets or a blanket due to the cold weather, they were both ignored.

They were taken inside this facility for 30 minutes before being transferred back to Kiryat Arba police station in Khalil. Their handcuffed were removed at 12:30 at night and they were placed in a cell to sleep.

In the morning, on Thursday 9th January, Vincent and Fabio were awakened and handcuffed at 6:30 in the morning. They received no information about their situation and were not informed they had a court hearing that morning. When they arrived at court in Jerusalem they were allowed to speak to their lawyer for approximately four minutes outside the courthouse, with Israeli border police present.

After they had the short conversation with their lawyer they were taken to the immigration office in Tel Aviv. The two activists tried to refuse to enter this building as they knew their lawyer was attempting to argue against their arrest [which was eventually declared illegal]. It was at this point Israeli forces became extremely aggressive, dragging both Vincent and Fabio by their handcuffs causing their wrists to bleed.

Vincent attempted to resist as they dragged both boys up a set of stairs and it was at this point a man from the immigration center kicked him in his ribs and his face. They were taken into a room and after one hour, were able to contact their lawyer, though they were not allowed privacy for this phone call.

Vincent asked if he could file charges against the man who has beat him, and he was told he was not allowed to do this.

At this point Vincent and Fabio were given food for the first time in 25 hours.

The boys were then taken to Giv’on prison in Ramle, close to Tel Aviv. They were unable to contact their lawyer again and received no information about their case, until they were finally able to be contacted by ISM two days later.

Vincent and Fabio are very likely to be deported within the next few days, their arrest has been ruled illegal by an Israeli court but this has not made any difference to their situation. Their treatment since being arrested should serve as a reminder in terms of how Israeli forces are able to treat their prisoners, whether justified or not. However, Vincent and Fabio as internationals have received far better treatment then Palestinian prisoners. The brutal treatment of Palestinian prisoners echoes throughout Palestine and serves as a daily reminder of the Israeli occupation.

January 15, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Comments Off on International activists physically and verbally abused in detention

Jabari family once again facing harassment from settlers and soldiers

International Solidarity Movement | July 22, 2013

Hebron, Occupied Palestine – On Saturday the 20th, whilst taking his sheep out to graze on his land, 56 year old Abd Al-Karim Ibrahim Al-Jabari was stopped and harassed by settlers and soldiers before being taken for questioning to the police station in Givat Ha’avot, an illegal settlement in occupied Hebron.

Abd Al-Karim’s land is located between the two illegal settlements of Kiryat Arba and Givat Ha’avot. When he took his sheep out to graze on his land yesterday morning, he was stopped by settler security guards from the nearby settlement of Givat Ha’avot who subsequently called the Israeli occupation forces. He spent several minutes discussing with the soldiers, who refused to believe that he is the owner of the land and insisted it was Jewish land, as the settlers had told them. A soldier said to Abd Al-Karim: “This land and this house is mine and I will get you out of it”. The soldiers then decided to take him to Givat Ha’avot police station for further questioning. Abd Al-Karim, who speaks Hebrew, heard the soldiers say to each other that they wanted to handcuff him and then push him out of the jeep whilst driving. However, he managed to calmly insist and persuade them that there was no need for him to be handcuffed or blindfolded.

When they arrived at Givat Ha’avot police station, a police officer who knows Abd Al-Karim and his situation scolded the soldiers for bringing him there, confirmed that he owns the land, and told the soldiers to take him home again, which they did. Abd Al-Karim explained that the soldiers who arrested him are Shabbat reinforcements from another brigade that is not normally stationed in Hebron and therefore do not know the Jabari family and their situation.

After Abd Al-Karim was arrested, his son continued discussing with Israeli soldiers and asked them to stay to protect them from settlers, who were gathering in a tent set up on the Jabari family’s land which serves as a synagogue. However the soldiers refused to stay and said they would only come back after a one-hour coffee break. They also prevented international activists from filming the scene. Two hours later, the soldiers still hadn’t returned, leaving the Jabari family vulnerable to settler attacks. Abd Al-Karim explained that this has happened many times before.

The Jabari family used to live where Givat Ha’avot settlement now is, and they owned two more houses that were demolished. They have been living in their current house for 16 years.

The Jabari family has suffered countless attacks by both settlers and soldiers over many years. The settlers regularly come to harass and attack the Jabari family when they are out on their land grazing sheep or tending to their trees. They also steal vegetables from their land before the Jabari family can harvest them. In the past, settlers have often thrown rubbish, stones and empty alcohol bottles into their garden. Abd Al-Karim says he has recorded about 1,500 incidents since 2001. Everyone in his family has been arrested at some point or other. They have filed countless complaints at the police station, which has only led to further aggression and arrests by the Israeli military, who are seemingly trying to crush their spirit of resistance and defiance. Abd Al-Karim believes that his family is more vulnerable to settler attacks than their neighbours because they refuse to back down and insist on continuing to enter and use their land.

A few years ago, a couple of thousand settlers entered the Jabari family’s property and prayed outside their house. The settlers have said many times that they intend to take over the Jabari’s house and land.

Once, settlers were throwing stones at one of Abd Al-Karim’s sons. Soldiers came and twisted his arms behind his back and told the settlers to continue throwing stones at him. He was hit in the face by a stone and badly injured.

Two years ago, during Ramadan, soldiers would come to several houses in the neighbourhood just a couple of minutes before the call to prayer for iftaar (breaking the fast). They would force the whole family to move into one room and lock them inside, with all the food prepared and ready outside. The Jabari family’s neighbours were locked inside a room for 24 hours without food or water and were only released for iftaar the next day, meaning they had to fast for 48 hours. They were at the mercy of the soldiers to let them out to use the toilet.

When the soldiers attempted to do this to the Jabari family one day, Abd Al-Karim argued with them and refused to move into a room. The soldiers nevertheless entered their house and watched them break their fast. They then demanded to be shown around the house, but again Abd Al-Karim refused and insisted on calmly drinking his coffee and smoking a cigarette. He told them to go look around the house on their own, but refused to have his break ruined. The soldiers checked the house and left after an hour. Abd Al-Karim says he is proud that he refused to be locked into a room like his neighbours and that the soldiers could not force him.

As the Jabari family was sitting with ISM volunteers telling their story, a settler entered their garden. Abd Al-Karim and his son reassured the worried internationals and explained that this settler was an old friend and came to visit them regularly. They offered him coffee and cigarettes, and told stories of how they already used to play together as children. “We’re not against Jews or Israelis living here. All we ask of God is to live in peace with our children.”

July 22, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Jabari family once again facing harassment from settlers and soldiers

‘They have two roads on our land already, why do they need a third…?’

International Solidarity Movement | June 27, 2013

Hebron, Occupied Palestine – In the Wadi al-Hussein area of Hebron, Israeli occupation forces have started to build a new road ‘for military purposes’. The route of the road is from the illegal settlement of Kiryat Arba towards the city centre, directly across Palestinian-owned land.

A military order has decreed the construction of this road, four metres wide and more than two hundred metres long, cutting through fields of olive and fruit trees owned by the Palestinian families living there. The stipulation on the width of the road has already been broken, with the route that has been cut by bulldozers being six metres wide in places.

In contrast to the military order to build a road, Palestinian landowners have been denied the right to build on their own land. Despite gaining approval from the Palestinian Authority, the Israeli authorities (who have the final say on civil matters in area H2 of Hebron) have refused permission to build a new house. Landowners also point out that there are two existing roads from Kiryat Arba built on Palestinian land for Israeli-use only, and ask why a third is required.

When occupation forces attempted to build this road initially, landowners and others tried to stop construction by sitting down in front of bulldozers, but this non-violent protest was met with arrests, fines and imprisonment, and by the bulldozer dumping a load of earth on top of them.

Landowners complain that Israel insists on applying those aspects of the Hebron accords that benefit settlers, while ignoring those aspects covering the rights of the majority Palestinian population. Using military orders to steal land is a tactic long-used by Israel. Land seized this way then later typically becomes part of the ever-expanding settlement project. All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law, which bans the transfer of the occupier’s population into the land under occupation.

June 27, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Jewish settlers setting up tent and planning road on Palestinian owned land in Al Khalil

International Solidarity Movement | May 27, 2013

Hebron, Occupied Palestine – This morning, settlers from Kiryat Arba, an illegal israeli settlement in the city of Al Khalil (Hebron), started to place road markers for the construction of a road through the Palestinian olive groves of Wadi al-Hussein. They were accompanied by Israeli military and police.

Palestinians, including the owners of the land, gathered in the area to stop any attempt of illegal construction in their land and were confronted by armed Israeli settlers, police and army. A number of international observers were there to monitor the situation. The settlers claimed that they had a court order for road construction. However, they were unable to bring any official papers to back this claim.

A while later, some settlers who remained in the area started putting up a tent in the olive groves, unhindered by the police who have the legal duty to prevent them from land theft. They equipped the tent with chairs and surrounded it with Israeli flags.

Wadi al-Hussein is a Palestinian neighbourhood in Al Khalil, which, due to its proximity with the illegal israeli settlements of Kiryat Arba and Givat Ha’avot, has suffered a lot from settler violence and oppression by the Israeli forces.

Settlers tent in the Palestinian olive groves (Photo by ISM)

Settlers tent in the Palestinian olive groves (Photo by ISM)

Israeli forces and Palestinian land owners arguing about the settlers tent (Photo by ISM)

Israeli forces and Palestinian land owners arguing about the settlers tent (Photo by ISM)

Road marker placed by settlers (Photo by ISM)

Road marker placed by settlers (Photo by ISM)

May 28, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | Comments Off on Jewish settlers setting up tent and planning road on Palestinian owned land in Al Khalil

3 Arrested as Palestinians attacked by settlers and soldiers in Tel Rumeida

By Vicky Blackwell and Elyana Belle | International Solidarity Movement | October 22, 2012
Settlers arrive to the Azzeh family land – Photographs by Vicky Blackwell

Today, a group of settlers from the illegal settlement in Tel Rumeida arrived at Hashem Azzeh’s olive grove next to his house, whilst he and his family were harvesting their olives, yelling for everyone to get off of “their” land.

Hasham and his family were on their land harvesting olives for the first time in 5 years after being granted permission from the District Civil Liaison. He was accompanied by several members of his family as well as activists from the International Solidarity Movement. The situation quickly escalated as settlers pushed the Palestinians in order to try and enter Hasham’s house.

Within ten minutes the soldiers arrived and began to separate the Palestinian family and internationals and siding with the Israeli settlers. Arguments continued with both sides yelling “this is my land,” regardless of the fact that Hashem has the deeds to the land. The settlers were also heard shouting “This is not your land, this is the land of the Jewish people.”

At this point around ten more settlers had come down and joined in, shouting abuse at Hasham and his family. The soldiers pushed the Palestinians and internationals back towards Hasham’s house threatening to arrest anyone who did not obey. The soldiers grabbed a young Palestinian man by the name of Ahmad Al Atrash who was video taping standing behind international activists: pushed him against the wall and zip-tied his arms behind his back.

Then they went after an International activist trying to arrest him for taking video footage. While trying to escape they grabbed another of the International activists standing by, put him in a headlock on the ground and arrested him. Jawad Abu Eisheh who had arrived in solidarity with his neighbors was also captured and arrested.

The two Palestinians and Italian activist have been arrested and taken to a police station in the illegal settlement of Kiryat Arba.

The district of Tel Rumeida is heavily militarized and contains the homes of both Israeli settlers and Palestinians. Hasham’s family moved to Tel Rumeida in 1950 after being forcibly removed from their homes in what is now Israel. The Tel Rumeida settlement was installed in 1984.

In an attack in 2006 the settlers smashed Hasham’s nephews’ teeth in with a stone. That same year his wife (3 months pregnant at the time) was attacked and subsequently miscarried. Again in 2006 she was attacked, this time 4 months pregnant, and again, suffered from a miscarriage due to the attack.

The settlers living directly over Hasham’s house have also in the past raided his house, (bullet-holes near his front door show when the settlers shot live ammunition at his house), they cut his water-pipes and poisoned his water tank, cut his trees down in his garden and have physically attacked and assaulted him and his family as well as breaking-into and vandalizing his house on several occasions.

Previous reports on settler violence against the Azzeh family:

October 22, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli army turns Palestinian homes in Hebron into military barracks

MEMO | October 4, 2012

The Israeli occupation forces have turned the roofs of Palestinian homes in the ancient city of Hebron, south of the West Bank, into military barracks and control points under the pretext of providing security for Jewish settlers during the Hebrew celebrations of the Sukkot Feast.

Human rights sources in the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee reported that a large number of Israeli forces took over the roofs of several Palestinian homes along the lanes of the old town. These houses, including the family home of the Islam Al-Fakhouri in Al-Sahla area, have been turned into military barracks and control towers while the families have been forced to leave.

Israeli soldiers also commandeered the roofs of the Abdulmutallab Abu Sunaina, Imran Abu Rumaila, Daoud Jaber, Nader Salaymeh and AliAl-Rajabi households turning them into control points.

Sources also point out that the regions extending between the settlement of Kiryat Arba, the Cave of the Patriarchs, Tel Rumeida, Al-Shuhada, Al-Ras, and Wadi El-H’aseen streets; and the areas of Al-Masharqa Al-Fawqa and Tahta, are subjected to a blanket Israeli police and army presence.

October 5, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Israeli army turns Palestinian homes in Hebron into military barracks

Ultimate goal of Israeli policies in Hebron: ethnic cleansing

28 July 2012 | International Solidarity Movement

Just below the illegal settlement of Kiryat Arba, situated on the the eastern outskirts of Al Khalil (Hebron) is the Palestinian area of ar-Ras.

A quick online search of the Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba provides general knowledge on the founding history and how it has been subject to Palestinian resistance since 1981 but fails to inform the reader of the consequences for the indigenous Palestinians living nearby the relatively large (ca. 7000 inhabitants) settlement. Nor will one find written that such colonies are considered illegal by international law as confirmed by the International Court of Justice. Nor of the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre in 1994 which was committed against Palestinians by an Israeli settler from the same area.

Hebron residents regularly speak with the International Solidarity Movement about constant violent attacks by the settlers, land expropriation by Israeli policies, lack of freedom of movement and the requirement of special permits for car use, lack of running water, and demolitions.


In 2006, Palestinian landlord Fayiz Arajar began the construction of a large building intended to house a dozen shops and several families. The building is formidably situated, overlooking the olive grove of the ar-Ras area and the distant white houses of Al Khalil, flickering in the heat.

In 2007, as the project was nearly completed, Israeli settlers occupied the building. Subsequent to a high court decision to evict them, settlers from across the West Bank gathered in the house ready to defend their illegal takeover of the building. The eviction deadline was set to December 4, 2007 by the high court.

The week leading to the deadline was tense. Israeli settlers vandalized the Palestinian cemetery, burned Palestinian cars, and attacked Palestinian houses. The escalation in such attacks came due to the arrival of thousands of illegal settlers in support of the squatters. They succeeded in fighting the eviction force. Israeli authorities simply refrained from further attempts to remove them and, as seen before, allowed the story to twist from that of property theft to a question of security (of the settlers). In recent years, Israel has even decided to erect a military checkpoint for Palestinian pedestrians in the interest of ‘protecting’ the settlers.

Muhammed Al-Jabari ‘Abu Naim’ and his family live in a house about 100 metres from the occupied building. On May 28 of this year, they began to build an extra floor ontop of their house. The family of 15 members needed more space.

Settlers from a nearby recently occupied house repeatedly attacked the building project underway by Abu Naim. Subsequently, Abu Naim was banned by Israeli authorities from continuing construction.

With reference to the Oslo accords (Annex 1, article XII) Palestinians are not allowed to build within 50 metres of security roads. In Abu Naim’s case, a security road was announced with the construction of a new military checkpoint in the area. The legal value of Abu Naim’s construction permit was overruled although his house is far from the 50 meter no-construction zone. The land on which the house was built 14 years ago has belonged to the Al-Jabari family since before the Israeli occupation in 1967.

For now, the mid-construction upper floor is left as an empty shell without windows or doors. Israeli bulldozers are on stand by to demolish the entire house should Abu Naim continue construction.

Prevention and annexation of resources

Across the olive grove and by Kiryat Arba’s barbed wire fence lives Kayid Dana and his brothers. Another stunning view embraces you from just outside their house, disrupted only by a looming Israeli watchtower. Most of the occupied West Bank is spotted with these grey towers. Watching from their windows, the ever present occupation, reminding Palestinians that privacy is a luxury that few, if any, enjoy.

The Dana family has been living on the same land for over 50 years. In 1958, the Israeli authorities repetitively offered them money to leave the house and make room for the growing illegal settlement. The family refused and nonetheless Israeli forces bulldozed half of their garden.

As of June 24, the Dana family has been without water. Israeli authorities prevented water trucks from entering the area to refill their water tanks. As a result, Kavid and his family are relegated to pump water from an unsanitary well outside their home. This is where they encounter the next problem: water is only available for a couple of hours each day. This is not enough to supply their 4 camels (100 liters/day) and the most basic household needs.

North of the Dana family home, through the olive groves, lives the Abdul Hay family (Abu Hossni). Their windows are fenced to prevent Israeli settlers from shattering the glass with the stones they throw. On December 4, the family was subject to a vicious attack that left 3 with dumdum (expanding bullet) wounds. Dumdum bullets are a type of live ammunition that enter the body, expand, and cause permanent injuries or death. Although dumdum bullets have been known to be used by Israeli settlers, they are illegal according to international law.

Jamal Abu Saifan, who lives in the area, captured the incident on his camera and explains how a lightly injured Israeli settler was choppered away 15 minutes after his injury, whereas the 3 Palestinians wounded by gunfire, one critically, waited 3 hours for an ambulance.

The ambulance attempting to reach them was stopped and denied entry to the area by Israeli forces.

Unfortunately, settler attacks are far from rare and have been occurring since Kiryat Arba was established in 1968. The purpose of these violent attacks, and the army violence and policies that accompany them, are not only to injure people and destroy their lands. That is only a strategic measure to reach an ultimate goal: the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

The next step by Kiryat Arba is the construction of a new road which will divide the vital Palestinian olive groves down the middle. The road will be inaccessible to Palestinians, not only preventing Palestinians from tending to their trees on the other side, but annexing further land, expropriating an economic necessity, and making life more difficult for the indigenous Palestinians.

Despite the collection of circumstances to make life difficult, all the families in the area have made the choice to remain on their land despite the uncertainty and pressures of their everyday life under Israeli occupation.

July 28, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Jameel’s story

| April 20, 2010

On 13 July 2009, Jameel (16) and two electricians were to his home when they heard the sound of weapons being cocked and an Israeli soldier saying stop, you mother***r. The four Israeli soldiers verbally abused Jameel, took his ID and broke his mobile phone. Family members soon arrived as they had heard the bews. After several minutes the soldiers marched Jameel toward Ramat Yeshai settlement and told his mother and cousin that it was a closed area and they would be shot at if they followed them, after telling them moments before “go back you whores.”

At a checkpoint near the settlement. Jameel was blindfolded and had his hands tied with plastic cords. He was forced to stand near the checkpoint as 40-50 settlers threw stones and brutally beat him, including punching him in the neck, causing the boy extreme pain and nausea. They also verbally abused him calling him a son of a whore and a motherf***er. Soldiers also brutally beat him. His head was smashed into the ground knocking him unconscious. Jameels family witnessed some of the abuse and his father captured part of the incident on a camera given to him by BTselem. A BTselem fieldworker was also present.

Eventually an officer cut the plastic ties and told Jameel that he could go. He walked away and then was ordered to stop. Grabbing Jameels chin, the officer said: “If you tell the Israeli police or the press or human rights organizations about what happened, I’ll kill you or shoot you from a distance if I can’t reach you.” Jameel went to Ahlia hospital for medical treatment. After leaving the hospital he and his father went to file a complaint at the police station in Kiryat Arba settlement. They were told to come back the next day which they did. They met with an interrogator and signed a paper in Hebrew that allegedly contained what they had said. Following the attack, Jameel suffered from insomnia and feels scared and unsafe around his neighbourhood.

June 24, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , | 1 Comment