Hebron: Fast for Rebuilding

A Jewish friend CPT fasted with us and was immensely helpful in giving some balance to the representation as well as providing basic Arabic translation. Ahlam, a long-time Palestinian friend of CPT Hebron, was also with us and fasted. Our public fast is located in a tent supplied by Palestinian friends across from the Red Cross Building.

Many of our conversations with Palestinians were similar. They wanted to know "What kind of peace is this when the Israeli government continues to take our land and destroy our homes?" We just listened. Some thanked us from the bottom of their hearts for what we are doing. Some said we were just crazy. Sometimes it was the same person who said both. You could see their level of frustration escalate the more they talked about the home demolitions. Some said "What good will this fast do? Only armed resistance will change Israel!"

A farmer passionately told his story to the news media about how soldiers prevented him from planting his land. He asked us how he could get in touch with a lawyer to help examine his situation. The fast is bringing people together so they can tell their stories, and network and get assistance.

Patrick, from Great Britain now doing community service in a village in Israel, hiked three hours with a leg infection to Jerusalem (buses don't run on Saturday, the Jewish sabbath) to catch a taxi to Hebron to be a part of our fast. He was an inspiration.

Day 2: Sunday, March 2, 1997

The political situation:

There is much controversy around the Har Homa settlement expansion located just south of Jerusalem. The expansion would complete a ring of settlements around Jerusalem and effectively cut off areas of the West Bank from Palestinians. Israeli Radio reported this morning that the government will temporarily cease home demolitions to calm some waters. Nevertheless, the Palestinian Authority is calling for a general strike throughout the West Bank and Gaza for tomorrow, Monday, March 3. The Israeli military has noticeably deployed additional troops and tanks in Hebron and Bethlehem. Tensions are rising here in Hebron.

Fast highlights: Three families whose homes Cliff helped to rebuild last year stopped in at the tent to visit. One invited Cliff to attend their wedding feast on Friday.

Two men from surrounding villages came to tell of their frustrations of not being able to farm their land beyond the new proposed Green Line -- the border between Israel and the West Bank -- due to a new military checkpoint. They say 40 homes in their area are in danger of demolition.

Three internationals from Jerusalem stopped by this evening for a "solidarity visit." Friends said we received excellent coverage on TV last night on PBC (Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation).

We got a call this evening at the fast tent from someone in Beni Naim village who was evicted from their home around dusk by Israeli soldiers. Before we could get their name and location the connection was cut off. We called a friend from Beni Naim to do some checking and called another friend who mobilized a team to investigate.

Christian Peacemaker Teams is an initiative among Mennonite and Church of the Brethren congregations and Friends Meetings that supports violence reduction efforts around the world. CPT P. O. Box 5608 Chicago, IL 60680 tel 312-455-1199 FAX 312-666-1677 email cpt@igc.org WEB http://www.prairienet.org/cpt/