Occupation routine in Hebron: Soldiers harass teachers and children at school
The ugly Israeli terrorist tells the B’Tselem human right’s reporter to leave. He is hitting her camera. When she refuses he orders her to “go stand behind the dumpster with the garbage”.
26 Nov 2018
Hebron, occupied Palestine – The Ewaiwe family home in Hebron’s H2 district has been heavily fortified to protect them against the settlers living just next door in the illegal Avraham Avinu settlement.
Rubbish thrown by settlers hangs on the wire mesh that shields the open courtyard in the centre of their home, set up by the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee (HRC) four years ago.
Prior to that, their settler neighbors would push large water tanks from the roof of their three-story building into the open stairwell of their home, which could have seriously injured or killed someone if they had been standing there.
Other times they would throw large rocks from the same spot above, which on one occasion hit their sink, splintering it into pieces.
“I wish I could remove this mesh wire. I’m sick of it. It blocks the air, the sun,” Basma Ewaiwe said, looking at her plants lined up inside the dark stairwell.
“But at least the big stones can’t go through.”
The garden that she used to have on her roof couldn’t survive the settler attacks.
Barbed wire stretches across their building in an attempt to deter settler intrusions.
They’ve lost count of the number of times settlers broke into their home in an attempt to occupy it. Their son’s bedroom has been set on fire numerous times.
On another occasion, their neighbors threw a tear gas canister into the room where the family was sitting. The mother, Basma Ewaiwe, pregnant at the time, suffered a miscarriage following the incident.
The Israeli army outpost stationed on top of their roof witnesses attacks, but does nothing, residents say.
“Anytime there’s any [political] problem happening in the country, they come,” Nidal Ewaiwe, 50, told Al Jazeera.
“They only bring us the most extreme settlers. For them, Hebron is more important than Jerusalem.”
When former Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced in October that another settlement had been approved to be built in Hebron for the first time in more than 20 years, the news wasn’t a surprise for the Ewaiwes.
Over the decades in Hebron, as illegal settlements were built in the heart of the city, the Ewaiwe family saw the city centre – once bustling with markets, shops and factories – disintegrate into a ghost town as poverty increased among its residents.
Illegal settlements have been expanding across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, for decades, but there has been no accountability.
The latest settlement project – the sixth in Hebron’s H2 district under Israeli military control – will be built on a former Israeli army base, comprising 31 settler homes at a cost of $6.1m in government funding.
|Basma Ewaiwe [right] is proud that her plants can grow despite the lack of sunlight [Mersiha Gadzo/Al Jazeera]|
It has been 50 years since Israel occupied the West Bank and the Gaza Strip following the 1967 war, 70 years of total occupation of Palestine making it the longest lasting military occupation in the world, with no end in sight.
Occupation and colonialism are legally justified only as a “short-term and abnormal condition that is leading unhesitatingly towards self-determination and sovereignty”, Michael Lynk, the UN special rapporteur for human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, wrote in his 2017 report to the General Assembly.
Yet, there has been a surge of tenders for settlement construction in the past two years since US President Donald Trump took office, according to Israeli organisation Peace Now.
In 2017 and 2018 there were tenders for 3,154 and 3,167 settlement housing units, respectively, compared with just 42 in 2016.
In March 2017, after two decades, the Israeli security cabinet announced plans to build a new settlement in the occupied West Bank.
Currently, there are some 600,000-750,000 illegal settlers living in about 150 settlements across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, built on land the Palestinians had envisioned for a future state.