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Hebron days

The Christian Peacemaker Team in Hebron reports regularly on what goes on in that area. Below are excerpts from three days in late July. For more updates, see the team’s Web site at www.prairienet.org/cpt

Curfew on entire city

The Israeli military placed the Old City under curfew at 8:30 a.m. in preparation for the funeral of Israeli soldier Elazar Leibovitz, whom Palestinian snipers killed south of Hebron several days earlier. Leibovitz had been a resident of the Avraham Avinu settlement in Hebron.

LeAnne Clausen and Janet Shoemaker responded to a call informing them that settlers were attacking a friend’s house near Tel Rumeida. The settlers were gone by the time the CPTers arrived, but the family asked that someone stay with them for the rest of the day in case the settlers returned.

Shortly after noon, the team heard shots fired not far from the CPT apartment. A neighbor called to say that the settlers were creating problems in the market and invading houses. Clausen and Jim Satterwhite went to investigate and learned that a group of settlers had left the funeral procession and rampaged through the market, shooting randomly at Palestinian homes and people. By the end of the day, nine Palestinians and 15 Israeli police and soldiers were reported injured, and one Palestinian girl was killed.

Curfew lifted 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Clausen and Shoemaker went with a human rights reporter from B’Tselem (an Israeli human rights organization) to the house of Ahmed en-Natsche, a young boy whom settlers had stabbed on Sunday. They learned that during the attack on Sunday, a settler had grabbed Ahmed’s younger brother by the ears, picked him up off the floor and slammed him back down. His ear was bruised and torn.

At 4 p.m. two settler youth began throwing stones into the chicken market. The shop owners ignored them and they eventually left when adult settlers walked by.

A young Palestinian man directed Clausen and Shoemaker to the Abu Samir Sharabati home that settlers had attacked Saturday. An elderly couple who have spent years collecting Palestinian antiques owns the house. Settler youth had overturned furniture and smashed everything in every room of the house. The library, which contained rare books (some 1,000 years old) on the history of Palestine, Islam, and Jewish-Arab relations in Hebron, was completely incinerated.

Curfew lifted 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

During the team’s morning meeting, settler youth began throwing rocks into the chicken market at Palestinians. When Clausen and Jerry Levin went to photograph the incident, teenage settler women entered into the fray, walking into the market and threatening the CPTers. When Clausen attempted to protect her camera from the settlers, the young women attacked her.

An hour later, a neighbor of the team stopped by to express how angry he was about the assault against Clausen. He kept repeating, “I am very angry for you!”

Shortly after noon, the settler women entered again, with a few more friends, throwing rocks and yelling. This time, the police arrived early, but stood outside the barricade to the market and watched the young women assaulting the shopkeepers. The women went further into the market until a group of soldiers ushered them out towards Gross Square. They lingered at the entrance of the market for a half hour until a group of Palestinian reporters began photographing them. The soldiers then forced the Old Market vendors to close for the rest of the day.

National Catholic Reporter, October 18, 2002