This pledge closed 3 months ago
Since our 3 October report (http://www.cpt.org/cptnet/2012/10/03/al-khalil-hebron-peace-and-good-neighbors-not-another-settlement-outpost) there have been a number of developments regarding the Al Rajabi Building in Hebron. On Tuesday, 16 October the Jerusalem District Court accepted the injunction to freeze the implementation of the 13 September ruling that the Israeli military and police must allow the settlers to move in within thirty days, until a final decision regarding the appeal at the Supreme Court. This decision means that the settlers should not be able to move into the building immediately as we had feared. It did however come at a cost, which is a 100,000NIS/ 26,115USD bond that has to be paid by the Palestinian owner of the building.
It is feared though that due to the early election that has been called in Israel, the court decision may be decided for political reasons rather than it being a fair trial. CPT is working closely with UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee (HRC) and others to stop settlers from occupying the building and to show the consequences for Palestinians the last time the settlers occupied the house. Palestinians in the West Bank face settler violence regularly. According to OCHA, "settler violence is a regular occurrence, targeting primarily Palestinian civilians and their property, but also IDF soldiers." Such violence, OCHA points out, "is not random criminal activity; in most cases, it is ideology-driven, organized violence, the goal of which is to assert settler dominance over an area." CPT Hebron believes that the settlers' intention to occupy the Al Rajabi building is motivated by this ideology which would create territorial continuity between the Kiryat Arba settlement and settlements in the center of the Old City. We fear this will lead to more detentions and greater restrictions of movement for Palestinians living in the area.
CPT recently interviewed four families who live close to the Al Rajabi Building and Kiryat Arba settlement. All reported numerous experiences of harassment and violence from settlers living in the area since the inception of the Kiryat Arba. They expressed fear of this violence increasing if settlers were allowed to reoccupy the Al Rajabi Building. Their fear was based on their experience of increased settler violence when settlers occupied the building in 2007-2008.
One man told the CPTers, "in 2007 settlers took over a house in the area. They were violent and threw stones at Palestinians passing in order to scare them and make them move out of the area."
A mother spoke of the problems she experienced. "During this time, settlers were violent towards us and our children. They burnt houses and tried to break into our home. I'm extremely nervous because the girls must walk past the Rajabi building in order to get to school."
A father spoke out: "I recall that from about March 2007 to December 2008, there were frequent attacks from settlers to the Palestinian men, women and children."
The families are asking for help in their cause: "We are pleading to all those that will listen to stop this. If settlers were to come back again we will face the same issues again. This time was very stressful for us, it put a strain on our family relations."
The decision the courts reach about the Al Rajabi Building will greatly influence the future of the city of Hebron, particularly for these families. HRC and CPT have put together a statement along with a legal analysis of the proceedings. CPT Al-Khalil (Hebron) calls on supporters to share this information with people locally and to contact your Members of Parliament or Congress and other government officials about this issue.
You can find addresses for taking action here: http://www.cpt.org/cptnet/2012/10/24/al-khalil-hebron-urgent-action-prevent-new-settlement-outpost-increased-settler-vi