Hebron diary

 Hebron Update, sent to ICN by Christian Peacemaker Teams working in the Holy Land (we publish this report unedited) April 17 - 29 Monday, April 17 As Jamey Bouwmeester passed Beit Hadassah settlement with a tour group, he noticed several dozen settlers and soldiers standing at the entrance of the settlement. He was informed that an Israeli settler had been verbally attacking a Palestinian shop keeper. Rick Carter and Anita Fast went to observe the situation. The Israeli police were in the settlement investigating, and things diffused within half an hour. Bouwmeester also noted that the gate between the settlement of Beit Hadassah and the Palestinian market had been replaced (It had been removed by settlers several months earlier). Tuesday, April 18 In the afternoon, a Palestinian man came to the CPT apartment and reported that there was a problem with soldiers outside. Reinhard Kober and Bouwmeester went to investigate. They found a Palestinian youth being detained. Witnesses reported that he had been there for two hours. Kober and Bouwmeester asked the soldiers what was happening. "This is not your problem," a soldier replied, "This is our problem&quot. The soldiers then told the CPT to leave, but they remained there observing and questioning the soldiers. The soldiers would not say why the boy was being held and would not let him sit down. "We'll keep him here for 24 hours if we want to with no reason," a soldier said. "Sometimes a father has to punish his children." After another 45 minutes, the Israeli police arrived and let the boy go. Upon his release, Kober and Bouwmeester learned that the detention was a result of not having his ID with him. Later that day, Kober and Dianne Roe witnessed a settler/Palestinian confrontation. They called Bouwmeester and Anne Montgomery for assistance, but soldiers intervened and separated the parties. Two Palestinians were arrested. Several witnesses commented that the settlers were trying to provoke an incident that would give the army a reason to put the Palestinian population under curfew for the duration of the Passover holiday. Kober and Roe went to the Yatta area to stay with a family who lives near the Ma'on settlement. The family was evicted from their land last November after it was declared a closed military zone. The family spoke of how the soldiers confiscated all of their belongings when they were evicted. Family members talked happily of the Israeli High Court decision last month allowing Yatta families to return to their land pending the final decision of an arbiter. Wednesday, April 19 Montgomery, Carter, and Fast went with a friend from Beit Hanina to Beit Ummar where they were met by Ahmed Salaye (a brother of one of CPT's CSD matches). Ahmed took them to visit some families who live near the Karme Tsur settlement and received stop-work orders on April 6th. This is the first time that these families have had trouble with the military authorities. The families have been given a court date for May 23, and some Palestinian lawyers have taken their case. The families reported that an Israeli helicopter circles the area every two or three days to check on whether they are obeying the stop-work order. Ahmed emphasized that the people in the area who are trying to build homes are all refugees, and that some are orphans. Thursday, April 20 Israel Defense Forces demolished three Palestinian houses in the town of Issawiyeh east of Jerusalem. Sunday, April 23 On Easter morning Israel Defense Forces returned to Issawiyeh and demolished 10 buildings, including three that had been rebuilt after being demolished Thursday. Monday, April 24 In the evening, the main street running north and south through the Israeli controlled part of Hebron, Shuhadda Street, was closed to everyone but settlers. Even pedestrians, including CPT, were prohibited from passing. The closure was due to Passover celebrations. Saturday, April 29 In the late afternoon, a Palestinian woman came to the CPT apartment and reported that someone needed help outside. Carter and Fast went to investigate. Soldiers were detaining a young man. Witnesses reported that three settler girls had told soldiers that a Palestinian had taken a box that belonged to them, and was seen walking up into some homes between the Tel Rumeida and Beit Hadassah settlements. The young man being detained had been removed from one of the homes as it was being searched. Carter and Fast went to investigate the houses, and were invited into one of the homes which had been searched. The family spoke of how the soldiers had overturned furniture and emptied cupboards, and how the men were removed from the homes during the searches. All homes in the area had been searched in an investigation which lasted two hours. The alleged box was not found. CPT Hebron has maintained a violence reduction presence in Hebron since June of 1995 at the invitation of the Hebron Municipality. Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) is an initiative among Mennonite and Brethren congregations, and Friends meetings who support violence reduction Teams around the world. Contact CPT at P.O. Box 6508 Chicago, IL 60680 USA; Tel: 312-455-1199; Fax: 312-432-1213; e-mail: CPT@igc.org To join CPTNET send an e-mail to admin@MennoLink.org and the message: Group: menno.org.cpt.news. Visit us on the WEB: www.prairienet.org/cpt "The Sign of God is that we will be led where we did not plan to go." -Levely(Home News)

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