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Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Holy Land: non-violent resistance to shop closures
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¬†On Tuesday, a patrol of Israeli soldiers ordered Palestinian shopkeepers on the south side of the open square area at Bab ib Baledeyya, the entrance to Hebron's Old City, to close their shops. The soldiers informed the shopkeepers that a military order had been issued ordering the closure. However, the soldiers did not show any order. Christian Peacemaker Team members Jan Benvie and Reinhard Kober arrived at the area a shortly after. They asked a soldier at the nearby Israeli military checkpoint for a copy of the military order. After speaking on his radio, the soldier advised them that they could see the order at the office of the 'Civil' Administration (a branch of the Israeli military that administers Palestinian civil affairs in the occupied territories). The CPTers then asked the soldier if he knew how long the shops would remain closed. He again spoke with someone on his radio then pointed to his shoulder, indicating where high ranking officers wear epaulettes, and said "Someone with a high .. [rank] will open it when he says." Benvie and Kober sat with a group of shopkeepers at a nearby cafť as they discussed the morning's events. One of the shopkeepers said to them: "Yesterday Olmert and Abbas met. Today they close the shops. That is the goodwill measure." gesturing towards the closed shops. The closure was a blow to recent local attempts to re-vitalize the area. With support from local business people and the Hebron municipality, a number of shop owners have been encouraged to re-open their shops, many of which were closed by the Israeli military over the past five years. The following morning one of the shopkeepers, who had been ordered to close his shop the previous day, requested that CPT accompany him because he wanted to open his shop. CPT observed one group of five soldiers approaching the area. They stopped for a moment near the open shop and one soldier spoke on his radio before the group moved on. The shopkeeper remained open until his normal closing time of 2pm. Christian Peacemaker Teams is an ecumenical initiative to support violence reduction efforts around the world. To learn more about CPT's peacemaking work, visit:
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