Thu, 23 Apr 1998

From: Rabbi Michael Lerner <rabbilerner@tikkun.org>

Following the incident on Sunday morning, April 19 (see release), in which settler Dov Dribin was killed in a scuffle with Palestinian shepherds, Israeli security forces and area settlers have increased their harassment of families living in areas near the settlements of Maon, Karmel, and Sussia. Although all agree that Dribin and the settlers with him were armed and that the Palestinians were not, there are conflicting reports as to whether Dribin was accidentally shot by another settler or whether the Palestinian with whom he was scuffling seized his gun and shot him with it. The Israeli police have not named a suspect.

Nevertheless, as the CPT team and Abdel Hadi Hantash of the Land Defense Committee learned in a visit to the area on Thursday, April 23, since Monday the Israeli army has been conducting night raids on families' homes, saying that they are looking for men-in-hiding. To date, the army has arrested 38 men. Soldiers told one family they would release the two men they arrested, ages 48 and 35, if the family would tell them where suspects are hiding. The army provided no names; nor is the family aware of anyone who is hiding. Soldiers have ransacked the tents, searched the children, and taken pregnant women away for interrogation. A soldier told one of the women to go ahead and give birth in the army jeep. Soldiers approached shepherds in the fields and demanded to see their I.D.s, then confiscated them.

Unknown people firebombed 5 Palestinian tents in the area near Maon at 3:00 am Monday morning. The team was told that an hour before it arrived a settler had driven his car into the car of a family from Yatta.

The Palestinian families told the team of their fears that soldiers will come again in the night and that settlers will commit further acts of violence. The area is isolated, the population spread out and easily cut off. Most families do not have telephones. They are extremely vulnerable and no one is there to address their security needs.

CPT asks that: 1. The Israeli military immediately cease raiding and ransacking Palestinian family homes and stop indiscriminately arresting Palestinian men in the area. 2. The Israeli army respect the land titles of the residents and orders of the Israeli High Court which has ruled that families have a right to stay in the area. 3. The international community provide a human rights monitoring presence to ensure the security of Palestinian families living in the area.

ADDRESSES: Please contact appropriate addresses below.

US Government Officials:

President, Bill Clinton, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW Washington DC 20500 e-mail: president@whitehouse.gov Tel. 202-456-1414

US Secretary of State, Madeline Albright, 2201 C St. NW, Washington DC 20520 (State Dept. Tel switchboard 202-647-4000) fax: 202-736 4461; e-mail: secretary@state.gov

US Ambassador to Israel, Edward Walker: fax: 202-736-4461, attn: Trish Costilancik

Canadian Government Officials:

The Hon. Lloyd Axworthy, Minister of Foreign Affairs; House of Commons (no postage necessary); Ottawa ON K1A 0A6; tel: 613-995-1851; fax: 613-996-3443; e-mail: axworl@parl.gc.ca

Israeli Government Officials:

Ministry of the Interior, Israel, fax numbers:

Minister of Interior: 011-972-2-566-6376 General Manager: 011-972-2-670-1585 Spokesperson: 011-972-2-670-1628

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, fax: 011-972-2-651-2631; e-mail: likud1@likud.org.il or fax: 011-972-2-566 4838; email: pm@pmo.gov.il

President Ezer Weizman, fax: 011-972-2-561-0037

Internal Security Minister Kahalani, fax: 011-972-2-584-7872

Justice Minister Hanegbi, fax: 011-972-2-670-8722

Israeli Foreign Minister: fax: 011-972-2-530 3506; email: ask@israel-info.gov.il

Israeli Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai: fax: 011-972-3-691 6940

Embassies and Consulates:

Embassy of Israel - Ottawa, 50 O'Connor St., #1005, Ottawa, ONT K1P 6L2, tel. 613-567-6450, fax: 613-237-8865, e-mail: embisrott@cyberus.ca

Embassy of Israel Washington, 3414 International Dr. NW, Washington DC 20008, tel. 202 364-5500, fax: 202 363-4156, e-mail: ask@israelemb.org

Consulate-General of Israel, Chicago - homepage@israel.org

Consulate-General of Israel, Houston - isramail@insync.net

Consulate-General of Israel, Los Angeles - israinfo@primenet.com

Consulate-General of Israel, Miami - ISRAELMI@gate.net

Consulate-General of Israel, New York - nycon@interport.net

Consulate-General of Israel, Philadelphia - net1@israphl.org

Consulate-General of Israel, San Franciso - ISRAELI@HOLONET.NET