Increased Israeli military harassment
7 September 2006
Since the war in Lebanon, the Christian Peacemaker Team (CPT) has seen increased military activity in Hebron, especially in and around the Old City.
Members of CPT have gone to the houses of four different neighbours when soldiers have invaded them during the last three weeks. Typically, a patrol of six soldiers enters and makes the family stay in one room, while the soldiers search the rest of the house, often turning everything upside down. They then often occupy one room where they make themselves at home, and take it in turns to sleep. At one house, when CPTers were there, the soldiers changed their minds and left without spending the night.
The team heard that on the other side of the Old City, in Haret Jaber on the hillside facing across the valley to the large settlement of Kiryat Arba, soldiers had invaded at least three houses. They stayed there for four days, from August 22nd. Dianne Roe and John Lynes visited two of the multiple family dwellings on the third day. The soldiers were occupying the top (second) floor. They had turned the family out, and did not allow Roe and Lynes to enter.
The family were staying with relatives. When Roe and Christina Gibb met the father at his stall in the market, he told them that there had been 15 soldiers there at once. They had only allowed him to return for a few minutes that morning to collect a few essential clothes for work. His wife said she had not been allowed in to collect anything for herself or the children. The family on the lower floor were allowed to remain there, but the mother was crying as she described the situation as being in prison. "It is very difficult; the soldiers only let us go out for one hour a day," she said.
There appear to be more men being detained and jailed without charge, in 'administrative detention'.
In one incident two cousins, aged about twenty and nineteen, were rounded up and seized violently in the middle of the night, at a shop well inside the part of the City controlled by the Palestinian Authority. The younger man was subsequently thrown out of the army jeep with a broken jaw and a broken front tooth. The cousin whom CPT knows well was taken away blindfolded and handcuffed. This week, the army came back for the younger cousin whom they had let go three weeks ago. His mother told us that first, four army jeeps came and encircled the building, and the soldiers looked very violent. They left when they found he was not there, but two Border Police came later and took him away quietly. His mother was particularly worried because his jaw is still causing him a lot of pain and he had been due to return to the doctor the next day.