August 15, 2007

Hebron - Tel Aviv

Hebron. The complex situation in Hebron cannot be easily summarized. I refer you to the Wikipedia article and my previous post. The group Bnei Avraham which I already mentioned in that post is active in supporting the Palestinians whose rights are impeded upon by the colonization (i.e. the settlers as persons and the security measures of the Israeli police and army that their presence has directly or indirectly triggered).
Friday before I left for a vacation, Bnei Avraham organized several actions in Hebron, including a joint one with "Rabbis for Human Rights", two tours for the public with "Shovrim Shtika" and an action in support of the Gaabri family. I took part to the latter one.
Background: Qiryat Arba is the large settlement just outside Hebron; between it and the nearest Jewish settlement inside the city itself, Giv'at Haavot, is a stretch of land owned by the Gaabri family. Check the map where you see the settlements and the area between Kiryat Arba and Givat Haavot which is already "sterilized", i.e. closed to car traffic for Palestinians. The settlers, on top of the official security measures, are harassing the inhabitants, in particular the Gaabri family, to frighten them into abandoning their home. The obvious goal is to unite Givat Haavot with Qiryat Arba, in view of which they have already built illegally a tent-synagogue called Hazon David on Gaabri's stretch of land (the structure has been destroyed several times by the IDF and rebuilt every time before the next morning by the settlers)
Here is what Bnei Avraham was informed of and the trigger for Friday's action:

About two month ago settlers in Hebron invaded the land of Abdul Kharim el
Gaabri who lives right below 'Givat Haavot' in Hebron. The family asked the
settlers to leave but instead they opened fire. At the end the father and his
son were arrested and no action was taken to investigate the settlers or even
pick the cartriges of the gun fire. Both father and son were bailed out with [Bnei Avraham's]
help but have to stand in court in few months.

The action consisted in meeting the family to show our support, going on their land and clearing the field which is full of weed to prepare for planting (the family hasn't been able to cultivate the land for the last 12 years). Any plantations will most likely be uprooted overnight by the settlers so what's the point? Our main goal was to materialize a Supreme Court order which states explicitly that the Gaabri family has the right to cultivate the land. Indeed this right is not acknowleged as it should be: the police came asking everyone to leave, then, only after being shown and explained the Supreme Court decision, let us work (and even encouraged settlers to mind their own business when they wanted to challenge us), but refused to let us post a sign reading "Private Property" at the end.
I have no way of double-checking Bnei Avraham's information, I didn't read by myself the Supreme Court decision but it seems clear that serious injustice is happening, that the role of the police is really problematic to keep things as quiet as possible by arresting people who are weakest instead of protecting the rights of the weak and that is not acceptable.

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