Bearing Witness

Settlers attack Palestinian house in Hebron – Again !

Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian house in the West Bank city of Hebron on Sunday evening, the latest in a series of attacks in the city.

Nedal Fareed Al-Awawi, a resident of Hebron’s settler-occupied Old City issued an appeal to international human rights organizations to protect him and his family.

He told Ma’an, “My home that is adjacent to the illegal Israeli outpost of Avraham Avinu, and is repeatedly attacked by the Israeli settlers. I fear for my children’s lives because of these vindictive attacks against me after the evacuation from the Ar- Rajabi building.”

Settlers rampaged through Hebron on 4 December when Israeli police and soldiers evicted 250 hard-line settlers from a house belonging to the Ar-Rajabi family. Al-Awawi home was one of the buildings set on fire by the enraged settlers.

Al-Awawi says Israeli police were present at the time of Sunday’s attack, but made no arrests.

“’I saw that settler attack on you, you should file a complaint. Be careful of settlers tonight,’” Al-Awawi says the police told him.

Al-Awawi’s home still smells of smoke from the riots over two weeks ago. During the rampage, one room of the house was completely burned, and the house’s electricity and water connections destroyed. He says settlers assaulted him when he was installing a new water tank on the roof of his home, and destroyed the new tank as well.

Al-Awawi says he has received assistance from the Hebron Municipality and the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee, an organization dedicated to preserving the city’s cultural heritage.

The director of the Rehabilitation Committee, Imad Hamadan said “We hold the Israeli authorities fully responsible for the life of the Palestinian families who are living near the Israeli outposts in the heart of Hebron.”

He called on Israel to comply with the Forth Geneva Convention, which requires the protection of civilians under occupation.

* This article was taken from Maan News Angency @ www.maannews.net

The Al-Awawi home is one of the homes I visited on my trip to Hebron, last  Friday, that had been fire bombed.  It’s the one next to Israel Occupation Force [IOF] watch tower that I posted photos of  – but seemingly again the IOF where unable to stop the attack. It’s quite obvious who they are there to protect, not the legal Palestinian residents of Hebron – but the illegal settlers.

Advertisements

December 22, 2008 Posted by | Media | , , | Leave a comment

Don’t believe the hype – Hebron and Gaza

I have just returned from a day in Hebron and was horrified to discover that the Al-Rajabi family home is not back in the hands of  it’s rightful owners, the Al-Rajabi family – as was widely report. Yes the settlers have been evicted, but the home is now being used as Israeli Occupation Force [IOF] watch tower. Leaving the Al-Rajabi family still homeless, 13 months after their home was first occupied. Did the Palestinians of Hebron and the West Bank suffer the desecration of their Mosques and graveyards, stoning, beatings and shootings for another IOF watch tower in Hebron ? Did the Al-Rajabi family spent a year in the Israeli court system to get the settlers evicted, so their home could be turned in a  IOF watch tower to protect the very settlers who occupied their house ?

While in Hebron I also was shown by my guide Tom, from the International Solidarity Movement [ISM], a Palestinian home that had been fire bombed during the settler violence that followed their eviction from the Al-Rajabi family home. The house was next door to IOF watch tower, but when questioned by ISM volunteers the IOF soldiers stated they “heard and saw nothing”. I found this strange as they noticed me taking photo’s straight away – I have never heard a Molotov cocktail being thrown but some thing tells me it’s louder than my camera.

I was also told how scores of children where arrested for throwing stones at the settler in vain attempt to protect their homes, Mosques and graveyards. While the only settler arrested was the man accused of shooting two Palestinians, and he was only arrested after B’tselem release video footage of the shooting to the media.

These incidents show just a few of the double standards that exist in the occupied territories, of which there are many more. They clearly show that there is one policy for Palestinians and another for Jews, fitting the definition of apartheid – the development of practices and policies of separation along racial lines. While also showing that the IOF, who under international law is responsible for for protecting Palestinians in the occupied territories, rarely fulfill these obligations. 

While where on the don’t believe hype theme lets talk about Gaza, I am sure that every time Israel lets the smallest shipment of food into Gaza, it’s widely reported in the western media as noble humanitarian gesture, but again don’t believe the hype. These shipments are like a small amount of rain in a drought, it’s welcome but it’s not drought breaking. The blockade of Gaza has now forced UNRWA to closed its doors as of Thursday 18th of December, saying it would be unable to provide emergency food aid to Gazans, since Israel continued to refuse to allow aid shipments into the Gaza Strip, UNRWA is responsible for feeding 750 000 Gazans. This another violation of international law, as it is a form of collective punishment. 

Again I ask, why is the world less offended by the oppression of the Palestinians people than it was by oppression of Black South Africans ? where are the boycotts and international condemnation ?

The Al-Rajabi family home, now being used as an IOF watch tower

The Al-Rajabi family home, now being used as an IOF watch tower

An IOF watch tower, next to a Palestinian home that was fire bombed by settlers after their eviction for the Al-Rajabi family home.

An IOF watch tower, next to a Palestinian home that was fire bombed by settlers after their eviction for the Al-Rajabi family home.

The results of the fire bomb

The results of the fire bomb

My guide Tom admiring the rubbish disposal methods of settlers

My guide Tom admiring the rubbish disposal methods of settlers

December 20, 2008 Posted by | My Thoughts | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hebron update

The evacuation of 250 right-wing settlers from a Palestinian house in Hebron touched off violent settler attacks across the West Bank.

Witnesses said that there are Palestinian families “who are besieged in their homes” that were set on fire by Israeli settlers, while the Israeli army prevented Palestinian medics from reaching the homes. Ten Palestinians were reported injured as a result of the army’s inaction.

B’Tselem claimed that the Israeli army knew “in advance” that settlers would attack Palestinians in reaction to the eviction.

While Hebron Governor Husein Al-A’raj held the Israeli army responsible for the consequences of the events in Hebron, demanding they stop the settlers’ attacks and affirming that “the protection of residents who are in an Israeli controlled area is the responsibility of the army, according to the Geneva Conventions.”

* Article taken from Maan News Agency @ www.maannews.net

Let’s start with the positive, the Al-Rajabi home is back in the hands of it’s rightful owners – the Al-Rajabi family. Even if it did take over a year, would it have taken that long to remove Palestinians from a settlers home ?

Now the Al-Rajabi house was just the effect not the cause of  a much deeper issue, the real issue in Hebron and through out the West bank is that the Israeli Occupation Force [IOF], who are responsible for protecting civilians in the occupied territories, rarely for fill these obligations. More often than not they are protecting the perpetrators of this violence, settlers, not the victims – in other words the IOF is facilitating the violence against the villager’s they are charged with protecting. If IOF had of protected the Al-Rajabi family in the first place, there would be no issue. This has been the case again over night as settlers attacked villagers across the West Bank, even shooting two unarmed Palestinian men in Hebron and shutting down the road to Huwara checkpoint just outside Nablus, with no intervention from IOF. Why does the world let Israel fragrantly disregard international law with no consequences ?

December 5, 2008 Posted by | Media, My Thoughts | , , , | Leave a comment

Hebron

 Barak in talks with Hebron settlers, seeking to end crisis.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak will hold last minute talks on Wednesday with right-wing settlers occupying a Palestinian house in the West Bank city of Hebron in hopes of ending two weeks of violence in the city.

Israeli Public Security Minister Avi Dichter said he hopes the settlers will leave voluntarily, but said Israel would use force if necessary to remove the settlers.

Also on Wednesday Israeli settlers reportedly set fire to a Palestinian house in Hebron, and Israeli forces broke up a pro-Palestinian demonstration in the city.

On Monday night and Tuesday, hundreds of Israeli settlers attacked Palestinians in the West Bank city of Hebron, throwing stones and beating residents with clubs while Israeli soldiers and police looked on.

Palestinians and their property were attacked in the Ar-Ras, Wadi Al-Hussain and Al-Ja’bari neighborhoods. Settlers also released dogs to attack the Palestinians. Israeli soldiers also fired tear gas and sonic bombs towards Palestinian houses.

Dozens of Palestinian citizens were injured. Witnesses reported that the settler mob numbered in the hundreds.

Settlers groups have descended upon Hebron over the last two weeks since Israel’s High Court of Justice ordered 13 settler families to leave the Palestinian-owned Ar-Rajabi house, which the Israelis have occupied since 2007. Rumors spread on Monday that the Israeli military was preparing to implement the order.

“It is not about Ar-Rajabi building. Settlers want to occupy Al-Ja’bari and As-Salayma neighborhoods as well as Wadi Al-Hussain, Ar-Ras and the Christian neighborhoods in order to connect Kiryat Arba’ and Kiryat Kharsina settlements with other outposts,” said Munawwar Ja’bary, an elderly woman from Ja’bari neighborhood.

She added, “Men, women and children have been attacked and injured. Our houses have been damaged. We have been prevented from leaving our homes. Our cemeteries and mosques have been desecrated in order to force us to leave, yet we will steadfast whatever they do.”

Several houses and shops were also attacked, especially water reservoirs on tops of the houses. Settlers also attempted to force shops’ doors open using crowbars and hammers. Two houses were partially torched. The windows of four cars were shattered and fire was set to two others.

The violence continued all of Monday night. On Tuesday morning settlers resumed their attacks, pelting Palestinians with stones from the roof of the Ar-Rajabi building.

Witnesses said Israeli police and soldiers stationed in the city did nothing to prevent the attacks, and in some cases facilitated them.

* Article taken from Maan News Agency @ www.maannews.net
 

Would the Israeli Government be holding talks with Palestinians, if they had occupied a settlers house and terrorised the rest of the settlement ?

December 3, 2008 Posted by | Media | , , , , | Leave a comment