Friday, 2 October 2009


Entry Visas only for the oPt
By Bethlehem EAs

The Bethlehem team recently visited a gift shop
on Manger Street attracted by a new version of a
Nativity Crib that contains the usual manager
where Jesus was born in front of a high wall with a
ladder which depicts the three wise men having to
climb over it to visit the baby Jesus. While there,
they met Betty Najjab, an American business
woman and widow who had been married to a
Palestinian. She is a long time US activist for
Palestinian rights and came to the West Bank to
do some marketing work for the gift shop.
She arrived in the West Bank on a usual three
month visa. When the visa was about to expire,
she went to Jordan to renew her visa upon reentering
the West Bank. However after she arrived,
she examined her visa and discovered that it had
been issued using a new permit stamp with the
words “Palestinian Authority only”.
This permit is part of a new policy that was quietly
introduced in June 2009 that bars foreigners who
seek to visit the oPt from entering Israel.
According to Israeli Interior Ministry
spokeswoman Sabine Haddad, the procedure is
based on an unpublished 2006 decision by the
Israeli interior and Defence Ministers that states
"any foreign national who wants to enter the
Palestinian Authority must have a permit issued by
the army, and entry is permitted only into PA
Making tourists decide between an Israeli and PA
only visa, will surely effect tourism and businesses
in the oPt. Millions of tourists and religious
pilgrims flock to Middle East holy sites each year,
visiting the Old City in the Israeli-occupied part
of east Jerusalem – which Israel claims as part of its
capital – and sites in the Palestinian
towns of Bethlehem and Jericho in the Israeli occupied
West Bank.

Susiya is back in the Spotlight
By Hebron EAs

Settlers recently attacked residents of the village
of Susiya southeast of the West Bank city of
Hebron in retaliation to the dismantling of part of
the settlers’ outpost by the Israeli Military. The
Hebron Team was able to react quickly to the
request of the local community, and managed to
change their plans on short notice so as to camp
out with the families of Susiya for four days to
witness the incident and provide a protective
presence, while continuing to follow-up on their
regular tasks.
The situation highlighted the vulnerability of
families living in Susiya. If any eventual peace dealinvolving further demolition of outposts is
implemented, the families here will bear the brunt
of the so-called “price tag” which settlers have said
they will exact. EAPPI and other internationals need
to be able to respond quickly to these events;
which was proven possible this week.
Regarding the attacked families, some are very
closely linked in with the activist organizations,
such as ISM, which was present, while others are
less so. The less-networked families are more
vulnerable to attacks. It is important that EAs
connect with them while being sure not to
overburden them, as the majority of families in
Susia are large and have very limited resources.

Curfews & Arrests in Azzun
By Jayyous EAs

Recently, the Jayyous team received word that the
Israeli Military was conducting an arrest raid in
Azzun. They then called Abdullah, a local contact
and found that a curfew was in effect. Thus, the
EAs went to Jayyous to photograph the army
The road to Azzun was open and the town was
completely empty as they drove in. However, a
little further into town, they began to see kids in
the street as there was a break in the curfew.
The team immediately went to Abdullah’s house,
where he reported that one of his sons had gone
to a football game the previous afternoon, and at
7:00PM, soldiers came and ordered the players
and spectators to go home. They arrested two
boys, one of whom was about 13 years old, and
by 2:00AM, another four boys were arrested.
Abdullah heard gun shots after midnight; a
neighbor, witnessed a boy trying to run away
from soldiers, but could not tell if he was
wounded. However, they did hear him crying as
the soldiers beat him - he was about 18 years
old. Abdullah said that the soldiers left at about
4:00AM, when he went to sleep. When he wokeup;
he was told that a curfew was in force.
One of Abdullah's brothers then dropped by
and said that a total of eight boys had actually
been arrested. Also, one home was broken into
and all the sons in the house were beaten withrifle butts.

House Demolitions in Jerusalem
By Jerusalem EAs
This month the Jerusalem EAs went with
fieldworkers from the Palestinian NGO Women’s
Committee for Legal Aid and Counselling to visit
women whose homes are at risk of demolition.
Demolition orders can affect small extensions to
existing houses or huge mansions. Here are some
of the ones they saw:
Imham’s is one of the 88 homes in the Bustan
valley threatened by the archeological park
scheme. She invited the group for coffee in her
impeccably furnished three-bedroom house with
its beautiful patio. She received a demolition order
shortly after the house was built in 1986 and has
lived with the threat of it happening ever since.
Although she has twice paid heavy fines and
lawyers’ fees, had hearings postponed, she now
awaits what she feels is ultimately a political
decision on the home she is so proud of.
Further up the hill of Jabal Al Mukkaber, the group
visited two sisters, Manal and Amani, who had
married two brothers. They had all lived in their
husbands’ parents’ small house until their growing
families made the overcrowding untenable. They
borrowed money to build extensions, got
demolition orders, paid the fines, but the orders
stood. Last year, bulldozers’ crushed Manal’shouse without warning, and this year Amani’s
husband painfully demolished his house
himself, to avoid having to pay for the
municipal bulldozer to do so. The sisters and
their six children are now both back at their inlaws,
with a big debt and the memory of a brief
independent life.
Their last stop was Um Qassem’s beautiful
three story house. This is a famous case. Last
year her 18 year-old son ran a BMW into a
crowd of Israelis, mostly soldiers. One of them
shot him dead. It was deemed by the IDF a
terrorist attack, and as a result, the family
home got a ‘punishment’ demolition order. The
family says it was a traffic accident caused by a
jammed accelerator. The race is on to prove it
in court before their home becomes a pile of
rubble. Home demolition as punishment is in
any case illegal under international law. The
other contentious point is why her son’s death
was not investigated in the way Jean Charles de
Menezes’ was in the UK, when a suspected
terrorist was shot by security forces in public.
The death of the Brazilian electrician produced
an outcry. Not here.

Following ACRI Petitions, Separation Barrier Rerouted
By Tulkarem EAs
In a recent decision handed down on Sept. 9, 2009 in response to petitions submitted by the Association
for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) on behalf of local residents, Israel’s Supreme Court ordered the State to
dismantle and reroute sections of the Separation Barrier that cuts through lands of the villages Far’oun,
Jabara, A-Ras, Tzur, Jayyus and Falamiah, effectively returning 6,000 dunams of land to the Palestinian side
of the Barrier. The current Barrier route annexes 25,000 dunams of a total of 37,000 dunams of Palestinian
land in the area, separating residents from their land and preventing them from accessing their principal
source of income.
With this decision, the Court accepted the petitioners' main assertion, ruling that serious flaws marred
Israel’s determination of the Separation Barrier’s route. Instead of the originally stated goals of defending
Israeli security concerns, the Barrier’s route has often followed the interests of expanding Israeli
settlements and new neighborhoods that have yet to be built. The land in question is considered the most
fertile area in the West Bank. It includes primarily agricultural lands worked by local Palestinians yearround,
which is a source of income for about 90% of the population of the villages in question. Additionally,
this area is rich in subterranean water aquifers and includes a number of wells that serve the region's water
needs. The route still causes significant harm to the Palestinian population, leaving 19,000 dunams
(approximately 50% of the villages’ land) on the western (Israeli) side of the Barrier.
The village of Jabara has remained on the Israeli side of the Barrier in a closed Israeli military area around
the Green Line known as the seam-zone. In this area, Palestinian residents require special permits to live in
their homes, are subject to stringent security checks each time they return home and are forbidden to
receive guests. The newly revised route will return the village Jabara to the Palestinian side of the Barrier.
However, regarding freedom of movement across the Barrier, the Court did not take a principled stance
against the current arrangement. Furthermore, the Court stated that until the proposed revised Barrier route
is completed, it cannot determine whether residents of the villages will be adversely affected and therefore
the Israeli Military Commander of the West Bank must evaluate the gates' locations and passage hours in
the future.

Settler Harassment & Vandalism
By Yanoun EAs

The Yanoun team recently read conflicting reports about a possible demolition of a home in the Palestinian
village of Urif. So they went to Urif to show solidarity with the people and find out what exactly had
happened. According to their interviews, at 1:00PM, a group of about 30 to 40 stone-throwing, male and
female settlers came down the hill, from an outpost of the settlement of Yitzhar besides the boys’ school
and approached the houses on the edge of the village. Some of the settlers were armed; however, luckily
there was not anyone at the school at this time.
Until about 20-days ago, there was an Israeli Army tent between the settlement of Yitzhar and the village of
Urif. Now the soldiers have to come from Huwwara, which takes longer; however, they came surprisingly fast
– some believe that someone called them. When soldiers arrived, the settlers began to throw stones at them
and withdrew from the village. The attack lasted about 40 minutes, in which they managed to demolish a
house that is under construction. This is the second time that the house had fallen victim to the settlers. The
support beams and walls in the house were destroyed.
Simultaneously, another clash with settlers took place on the other side of the village, in which a private car
was vandalized and the tires on two trucks were slashed with a knife.

No comments:

Post a Comment