Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Reports from the countryside around Hebron

An excerpt today from the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) newsletter and another from Jan Miller's blog, A Pilgrim's Tales.

First from EAPPI [to go straight to the entire newsletter click this link:]

February 2011
Across the Middle East and North Africa, the year 2011 has begun in dramatic fashion. Unprecedented protests in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen have shown the depth of peoples’ desire for justice and freedom in a region that has seen decades of political oppression and violence.

While media coverage has focused on unfolding events in Egypt, the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory has not been static. Israeli forces and settlers have killed several Palestinians, announced major land confiscations, and demolished dozens of Palestinian homes.

Ecumenical Accompaniers were among the first internationals to arrive in Dkaika, a village in the South Hebron Hills, on the morning of 12 January, when the Israeli army destroyed 9 residential structures and a classroom serving 15 pupils. Fifty people, including 30 children, were left homeless.

"Two policewomen stopped me when I wanted to go in to the house and take out the furniture and our things before they demolished it. They would not let me," said Hamdah Najadah, a local woman.

"They destroyed everything, even the coffee, sugar and flour. Where will we sleep? It is winter, and bad weather is coming. God be with us!"

In occupied East Jerusalem, the demolition of the Shepherd Hotel by Israeli authorities in order to build an illegal settlement on the site drew international criticism. The international community considers Israel's unilateral building of settlements in East Jerusalem illegal and a threat to a negotiated agreement over the city's future status.

In An Nu’man village near Bethlehem, Israeli bulldozers destroyed the home of a young couple, Raed and Siham. The army only gave them a few minutes to remove some of their furniture. The bulldozers actually started to tear down the house while they and their three little children were still in it - violating Israeli law. We have visited the family twice a week since the demolition. The family now lives with their neighbors who also have a pending demolition order.

For more eye-witness accounts from EAPPI, go the the home page:

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Here is Jan Miller's blog post. She is very concerned about the Meqbul family and others in Beit Ummar. Link to it:

Jan includes Jamal's email messages about his situation.

See Jan's blogs about peacemaking in Israel and Palestine:

She writes:
Today I’m writing because I have had a couple of alarming notes from Jamal, who hosted us at his home in Beit Ummar in the West Bank, just south of Bethleem. In May, Jamal invited our Compassionate Listening delegation to meet with his group—Wounded Crossing Borders. This is a group of Israelis and Palestinians who have all lost loved ones or been wounded in the conflict. They meet together to get to know one another and to build bridges of understanding. Our group sat with them in the shade on Jamal’s patio as the late afternoon sun filtered through the grapevines. The geraniums were blooming—pink, red—and the Muqbul family had prepared a feast for us, coordinated by Jamal’s wife Saddiye. As we sat eating our homemade humus, pita, chicken, rice and vegetables, we heard the story of Jamal’s 14-year-old nephew Ibrahim, who had just been arrested (he has now been cleared of all charges, with the help of the Israelis in Wounded Crossing Borders).

That warm afternoon on his patio, with Palestinians and Israelis who are seeking peace, seemed far away as I read his email on Thursday:
January 20—All time we afraid about our kids always we worry, last night the Israelis soldiers come to my family houses, they brock windows and doors then they ask about my son Zain they need him, my be they will return back in any moment, Sadiye crying all the time and she ask me to keep them in another place but where ? i call all of my group if we can do any thing, i am sure the Israelis IDF dont need me work for peace.

In a more recent post Jan writes:
More news from Beit Ummar (Ommar), between Bethlehem and Hebron in the West Bank—this time from the Palestine Solidarity Project (PSP). In the last two weeks I have written about the violence in Beit Ummar against Jamal Muqbul, whom we met in May. Yousef, the boy who was killed Friday, is a close friend of Jamal’s son Yazan. Jamal writes of their sorrow: “yes.. we are so so sad about Palistinin who killed by settler yesterday morning especially he is close friend of my child Yazan. …. now there is many soldiers in the village.” []

Take a few minutes to read about Yousef, who was involved in non-violent actions and was learning peacemaking in Beit Ommar. Read this information and more on PSP’s website:

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