Tuesday, July 01, 2008

tel rumeida settlers

One night on my trip with CPT a few of us stayed with a family in Tel Rumeida, where Abraham is said to have lived. This family moved there after their home and land was confiscated in 1948 in a village in what is now Israel. Now there is an Israeli settlement in their backyard, they cannot use the road that accesses their home (they have to climb over neighbors' walls to get to their house), and the settlers attack their homes especially on holy days. At left the pictures shows the man we stayed with showing us the settlement from his roof. He also showed us videos he and his neighbors have taken of settler violence, and they are sad and chilling. They're available on B'Tselem's website (an Israeli human rights organization). B'Tselem is doing a campaign called "Shoot Back" where they hand out video cameras so that people can get settler violence and harassment on tape for use in trials and in media. Go watch one particularly eye-opening clip on You Tube which the gentleman we stayed with showed to us (here).

The family we stayed with said there used to be over 300 Palestinian families in the neighborhood; now only 50 remain. There are 11 settler families guarded by hundreds of soldiers. (Remember, this is within the West Bank.) For nearly three years from 2001-2003 the Palestinians living in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood were under 24-hour curfew, meaning they could not leave their homes for food, work or emergencies all day every day, except for a few hours every few weeks or months at the whim of the Israeli military. Any Palestinians moving about outside their homes would be shot. The settlers had no curfew. Even today, although the curfew is usually lifted, there are hundreds of checkpoints in Hebron, and about four women die each year at checkpoints when they are in labor. Many more must give birth while waiting at checkpoints. The woman we stayed with had an 11-day-old baby named Khaled. She eventually made it to a hospital but only just barely.

She enjoys doing art depicting Palestinian liberation as well as the devastation Palestinians face on a daily basis. Here is one of her pieces.

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