Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hebron Settlers Need a Nap

My readers may remember me writing about the beleaguered city of Hebron in the West Bank. I visited it this summer and noted the forced segregation between Israeli and Palestinian residents, the curfews that only applied to the latter, and the ubiquitous anti-Muslim graffiti. 650 Israeli residents in this city of 180,000 Palestinians are guarded by Israeli troops in fortified enclaves in order to maintain their position.

In April of 2007, an Israeli family confiscated a house in Hebron which, at that time, was occupied by a Palestinian family. The Israeli family claimed they were the real owners of the house and, against the wishes of the original residents, began living in the house. Almost immediately, the house became known as Beit Hameriva, House of Contention. Last week, that's November of 2008, Israel's High Court found that the Israeli occupants of Beit Hameriva had forged ownership documents and ordered them to vacate the property by noon of the following Wednesday. Of course, they didn't leave, and nobody made them.

The Palestinian residents of Hebron were not happy and since, again, Israel has blocked Palestinians from pursing their rights through legal channels, tensions have been high this week. However, according to government spokesmen, it was not Palestinians who were responsible for this week's wave of violence.

Ha'aretz says:
The Defense Ministry said it would avoid the use of force in the evacuation and would try to urge the settlers to leave on their own accord. By late Wednesday, the house was still not evacuated and the settlers' protests grew hotter throughout the city.

During the protests, some settlers began to attack Palestinian locals while others wounded an IDF soldier by spraying turpentine at him as he tried to stop them from throwing stones at Palestinians.

Activists also punctured the tires of police and military jeeps stationed nearby.

The settlers also scribbled graffiti around Hebron, including spraying 'Mohammed Pig' on the walls of a local mosque and on Palestinian homes nearby.
To see a Ha'aretz article from when the Beit Hameriva was born, including information about the legalities, go here.

And, a refresh of what Hebron looks like:

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