Israeli settlers besiege a building belonging to a Palestinian resident of Hebron, 20 March 2007. (Mamoun Wazwaz/MaanImages)
On 19 March 2007, Israeli settlers illegally occupied an empty four-story Palestinian building. This multi-unit Hebron building is close to the Kiryat Arba settlement of 7000 residents and is strategically located to link Kiryat Arba to the smaller enclaves inside Hebron’s Old City.
Under Israeli law, settlers need permission from the Ministry of Defense before expanding their presence in the West Bank. Since they have not received permission, this occupation is illegal. Amir Peretz, the Israeli Minister of Defense, is reportedly ready to order the Israeli army to evict the settlers, but that his cabinet colleagues are more cautious. Initial reports said that the military would evict the settlers by 19 April. However, the Israeli government has undertaken no action to remove the illegal settlement so far. Israeli soldiers still guard the occupied building day and night.
Last year Israeli settlers took over a similar building in Hebron just before Pesach (Passover). When the army and riot police moved in to evict them, settlers threw missiles at them, including burning rubber tires and glass paint bottles.
The new building represents a dire threat to the local Palestinian population. Already four checkpoints less than 500 meters apart, line the same road for entry into Hebron’s Old City. The maze of checkpoints, gates and roadblocks continues endlessly for Hebron’s Palestinian residents. Currently the Israeli military has installed 124 road block/earth mounds within Hebron’s City limits, trapping the 35,000 residents of H-2, Israeli-controlled Hebron. The restrictions have forced 1,180 shops to close since 2002.
Palestinians say that another settlement will lead to yet another checkpoint and tighter curfews; further isolating this part of the city. Already settlers have placed a wire at the entrance of the Palestinian house across the street to trip residents as they exit their home. They have stoned the house and spray painted a Star of David on the front door.
The squatters are attempting an illegal purchase of two more houses and say defiantly that they will stay for many decades.
Please, e-mail or write to your embassy in Tel Aviv. Copy your Members of Parliament or Representatives and Senators. Urge them to send a clear message to the Israeli government that the establishment of this new illegal settlement diminishes hope for any new peace agreement between Palestine and Israel.
SAMPLE TEXT FOR MESSAGE:
To the Israeli Embassy:
Please promptly remove the illegal settlers who moved into an unoccupied building on 19 March 2007 in Hebron, West Bank. This clear violation of international law diminishes hope for renewed peace agreements between Israeli and the Palestinian government.
The four small settlements already inside Hebron have caused immense physical, social, and economic suffering for the local Palestinian residents. Each day that passes with this new settler establishment undermines the hope for peace.
Embassy in Tel Aviv - The Canadian Embassy, PO Box 9442, Tel Aviv 67060, Israel. Fax: (011 972 3) 636-3380. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Office of the Prime Minister, 80 Wellington Street, Ottawa, K1A 0A2. Fax: 613-941-6900 or Email: email@example.com
Minister of Foreign Affairs Peter McKay, House of Commons, Ottawa ON, K1A 0A6. Fax: (613) 992-2337 or Email: Mackay.P@parl.gc.ca
You can mail your MP at the House of Commons address, or find their email address go to http://www.parl.gc.ca/information/about/people/house/PostalCode.asp?Source=SM
Embassy in Tel Aviv - British Embassy, 192 Hayarkon Street, Tel Aviv 63405, Israel. Fax: (+ 972 3) 527 8574. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Prime Minister Tony Blair, 10 Downing Street, London SW1A 2AA T
o email the Prime Minister go to http://www.number10.gov.uk/output/page821.asp
Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Downing Street West, London Sw1A 2AL.
You can mail your MP at the House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA
To email your MP, MSP or MEP go to http://www.writetothem.com/
Embassy in Tel Aviv - US Embassy, 71 Hayarkon Street, Tel Aviv 63903,
Israel. Email: Mary Glantz, Human Rights, email@example.com Or Michelle
President George W Bush, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC20500
Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, 2201 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20520
To contact your Senator go to
To contact your Representative go to http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/