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Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Hebron

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Hebron is a microcosm of the wider Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The conflict in Hebron is being played out in a city of 160,000 Palestinians and a Israeli settler population of 500-800 living in close proximity to each other.

Under the British mandate

From 8 December 1917, during World War I, the British occupied Hebron. The British occupation of Palestine was sanctioned by a League of Nations Mandate.

In the 1929 Hebron massacre, Arab rioters killed 67 Jews and wounded 60, and Jewish homes and synagogues were ransacked; 435 Jews survived by hiding with their Arab neighbours. In 1931 under Rabbi Chaim Bagaio 160 Jews returned to Hebron. After further Arab Nationalist strikes, the British Government decided to move all Jews out of Hebron "to prevent another massacre". The Acting Mayor of Hebron was murdered on 13th August 1936 by unknown persons. The sole exception where a Jew remained in Hebron was Ya'akov ben Shalom Ezra, who processed dairy products in the city, and resided in the city on weekdays. In November 1947, in anticipation of the UN partition vote, the Ezra family closed its shop and left the city.

Jordanian rule

At the beginning of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Egypt and Jordan took control of Hebron. After the Egyptian forces were defeated by Israeli forces, the city fell exclusively under Jordanian control and later the West Bank was unilaterally incorporated into Jordan.

Israeli rule

After the June 1967 Six Day War Hebron came under Israeli control with the rest of the West Bank.

The vacillations in the Israeli cabinet after the six day war, over annexation and the political realism in wanting to maintain the majority Jewish demographic of Israel left the Israeli leadership in a quandary in ways to deal with the newly occupied territories. In 1968, a group of Jewish settlers, with the tacit support of Levi Eshkol and Yigal Allon, began to reside in the city, through a government compromise the Jewish presence was moved to the east in the new settlement at Kiryat Arba. Beginning in 1979, some Jewish settlers moved from Kiryat Arba to found the Committee of The Jewish Community of Hebron in the former Jewish neighbourhood near the Abraham Avinu Synagogue, and later to other Hebron neighborhoods including Tel Rumeida.

Jewish settlement after 1967

Following the Six-Day War of 1967, Israel's position was that parts of the West Bank be traded for peace with Jordan. In what was called the Allon Plan, Israel was to annex 45% of the West Bank and Jordan the remainder.

In an interview with the BBC on July 12 1967, Former Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion declared that:

....in the cause of peace, Israel should take nothing in the conquered territories, with the exception of Hebron, which 'is more Jewish even than Jerusalem'. According to Randolph Churchill, he [Ben-Gurion] argued that "Jerusalem became Jewish three thousand years ago under King David. but Hebron became Jewish four thousand years ago under Abraham and included a number of settlements that were destroyed two days before Israel was established."

In 1968, a group of Jews led by Rabbi Moshe Levinger rented out the main hotel in Hebron, and then refused to leave. According to the American Jewish historian Ian Lustik:

The government was caught by surprise. Internally divided, depending for its survival on the votes of the National Religious Party, and reluctant to forcibly evacuate the settlers from a city whose Jewish population had been massacred thirty-nine years earlier, the Labor government backed away from its original prohibition against civilian settlement in the area and permitted this group to remain within a military compound. After more than a year and a half of agitation and a bloody Arab attack on the Hebron settlers, the government agreed to allow Levinger's group to establish a town on the outskirts of the city.

They moved to a nearby abandoned army camp and established the settlement of Kiryat Arba. In 1979, Levinger's wife led 30 Jewish women to take over the former Hadassah Hospital, Daboya Hospital, now Beit Hadassah in central Hebron, founding the Committee of The Jewish Community of Hebron. Before long this received Israeli government approval and a further three Jewish enclaves in the city were established with Israeli army assistance, and settlers are currently reported to be trying to purchase more homes in the city.

The Jewish Sephardic community had been in Hebron continuously for approximately 800 years and the Ashkenazi community had roots there that went back at for about one century. Jews living in the new settlements and their supporters claim that they are resettling areas where Jews have lived since time immemorial. However, some reports, both foreign and Israeli are sharply critical of the settlers.

The sentiments of Jews who fled the 1929 Hebron massacre and their descendants are mixed. Some advocate the continued settlement of Hebron as a way to continue the Jewish heritage in the city, while others suggest that settlers should try to live in peace with the Arabs there, with some even recommending the complete pullout of all settlers in Hebron. Descendants supporting the latter views have met with Palestinian leaders in Hebron. The two most public examples of the descendants' views are the 1997 statement made by an association of some descendants dissociating themselves from the then-current Jewish settlers in Hebron and calling them an obstacle to peace, and the May 15, 2006 letter sent to the Israeli government by other descendants urging the government to continue its support of Jewish settlement in Hebron in their names, and urged it to allow the return of eight Jewish families evacuated the previous January from the homes they set up in empty shops near the Avraham Avinu neighborhood. Beit HaShalom, was established in 2007. One of the purchasers is a descendant of Jews who fled Hebron during Arab massacres.

A total of 86 Jewish families now live in Hebron.

Post-Oslo Accord

On 25 February 1994, Israeli physician Baruch Goldstein opened fire on Muslims at prayer in the Ibrahimi Mosque, killing 29, before the survivors overcame and killed him. In the ensuing riots in the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza Strip a further 25 Palestinians were killed. This event was condemned by the Israeli Government. The extreme right-wing Kach party was banned outright by the Israeli cabinet under 1948 anti-terrorism laws, following the groups support of Golstein's actions.

The 1994 Shamgar Commission of Inquiry concluded that Israeli authorities had consistently failed to investigate or prosecute crimes committed by settlers against Palestinians. It was revealed in that inquiry that the IDF have 2 sets of instructions, one for dealing with settlers and one for dealing with Palestinians.

The first Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) mission was established on May 8, 1994 as a UN response to the massacre. However the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government could not reach an agreement on the extension of the mandate and the observers were therefore withdrawn on August 8, 1994.

A year later, Hebron's mayor, Mustafa Abdel Nabi, invited the Christian Peacemaker Teams to assist the local Palestinian community in opposition to what they describe as Israeli military occupation, collective punishment, settler harassment, home demolitions and land confiscation.

The redeployment of Israeli military forces in Hebron in accordance with the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (the Interim Agreement or "Oslo II") of September 1995 was postponed on 28 March 1996. Since 17 January 1997, following re-negotiation of the Hebron Agreement, the city has been divided into two sectors: H1 and H2. The H1 sector, home to around 120,000 Palestinians, came under the control of the Palestinian Authority, in accordance with Hebron Protocol, shortly afterwards, Israeli and Palestinian joint units began patrolling the sensitive parts of the city. H2, which was inhabited by around 30,000 Palestinians, remained under Israeli military control in order to protect some 500-800 Jewish residents living in the old Jewish quarter, now an enclave near the center of the town. Renovation work that was being carried out on Palestinian homes prior to the Hebron agreement was halted on Israeli military orders. During the years since the outbreak of the Second Intifada, the Palestinian population in H2 has decreased greatly, the drop in large part having been identified with extended curfews and movement restrictions placed on Palestinian residents of the sector by the IDF for security needs, including the closing of Palestinian shops in certain areas. Settler harassment of their Palestinian neighbours in H2 was a reason for several dozen Palestinian families to depart the areas adjacent to the Israeli population.

The Hebron Jewish community has been subject to attacks by Palestinian militants since the Oslo agreement, especially during the periods of the Intifadas; which saw 3 fatal stabbings and 9 fatal shootings in between the first and second Intifada (0.9% of all fatalities in Israel and the West Bank) and 17 fatal shooting (9 soldiers and 8 settlers) and 2 fatalities from a bombing during the second Intifada. and thousands of rounds fired on it from the hills above the Abu-Sneina and Harat al-Sheikh neighbourhoods. While the settler compound of Beit haddassah has been used as a firing point to shoot indiscriminately into Palestinian areas.

An international civilian observer force, the TIPH was subsequently re-established on 14 May 1996 to help the normalization of the situation and to maintain a buffer between the Palestinian Arab population of the city and the Jews residing in their enclave in the old city during the handing over period to the Palestinian Authority. On February 8, 2006, TIPH temporarily left Hebron after attacks on their headquarters by some Palestinians angered by the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy. TIPH came back to Hebron a few months later.

The city of Hebron has been a major friction point, with Palestinians and Israeli human rights groups accusing the hard-line religious settlers of attacking the Palestinian population with impunity. According to Human Rights Watch, the settler bias of the IDF was confirmed and clarified by Hebron commander Noam Tivon when he stated in an Ha'aretz article:

Let there be no mistake about it. I am not from the UN. I am from the Israeli Defense Force. I did not come here to seek people to drink tea with, but first of all to ensure the security of the Jewish settlers.

Tivon later suggested that the "Palestinian Authority is encouraging children to participate in clashes with the IDF by offering their families $300 per injury and $2,000 for anyone killed. He also said "the soldiers have acted with the utmost restraint and have not initiated any shooting attacks or violence.

The Islamic movement Hamas won an overwhelming victory in the 2006 elections.

The Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence, composed mostly of former soldiers, has documented abuses committed by Israeli soldiers guarding the Hebron settlers, while Mario Vargas Llosa has written that local Arabs are "subjected to systematic and ferocious harassment by settlers, who stone them, throw rubbish and excrement at their houses, invade and destroy their homes, and attack their children when they return from school, to the absolute indifference of Israeli soldiers who witness these atrocities.

The documentary Welcome to Hebron asserts that settlers often harass the local Palestinian population. In the film, a former commander of the Israeli army, one of the leading figures in Breaking The Silence, shared his experiences as a soldier in Hebron.

In September and October 2008 reports stated to leak out about the possibility of a transfer of authority for security operations.

List of incidents of Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Hebron

2 June 1980 Israeli settler group based in Kiryat Arba set a bomb off in Hebron market 11 Palestinians are injured.

July 1983 3 students killed in a raid on the Islamic College in Hebron.

On 7 July 1983 The commander of the central region ordered the dismissal of the municipal council of Hebron and of acting mayor Mustafa Natche (the Mayor, Fahd Al Kawasme, having been expelled from the OTP on 2 May 1980) and appointed a Jewish member of the civilian administration to the post of mayor of Hebron municipality. Mustafa Natche was able to re-take his post again in April 1994.

On September 1988 Zein Moh’d Ghazi Karaki was shot to death.

On 30 September 1988, Palestinian shoe store owner Kayed Hassan Salah was shot dead and a customer was wounded by Rabbi Moshe Levinger.

23 March 1993 Israeli settler Yoram Skolnik fired several shots from his Uzi submachine gun and killed Musa Abu Sabha, a Palestinian who lay face down, his hands tied behind him. Abu Sabha had been caught near the "Susia" settlement, south of Hebron, carrying a knife and a grenade, and had stabbed and slightly wounded a settler before he was subdued.

16 September 1993 Palestinians celebrating in support of the Israeli-Palestinian accord in Halhul village came under fire from Israeli troops and as a result, a young Palestinian was injured.

5 October 1993 Israeli troops shot and injured a Palestinian. On November 7, 1993, Efraim Ayubi of Kfar Darom, Rabbi Chaim Druckman's personal driver, was shot to death by Palestinian gunmen and the Rabbi wounded near Hebron. HAMAS publicly claimed responsibility for the murder. Settlers then rioted wounding 3 Palestinians.

14 November Jewish settlers shot and killed a young Palestinian after he stabbed and injured a settler near the Ibrahimi Mosque.

16 November 1993 Jewish settlers overturned market stalls, smashed cars and broke car windshields.

On 3 December 1993 A young Palestinian was shot and injured by Jewish settlers in Hebron.

On 5 December 1993 A group of Jewish settlers from Kiryat Arba ambushed and killed a Palestinian resident from Hebron. The killing triggered demonstrations and protests all over the West Bank.

On December 6, 1993 Mordechai Lapid and his son Shalom Lapid, age 19, were shot to death by Palestinian gunmen near Hebron. HAMAS publicly claimed responsibility for the attack.

On 10 December 1993 Three Palestinians, two brothers and a cousin, were assassinated by Jewish settlers while sitting in a parked car near Hebron.

13 January 1994 Three Israeli soldiers were injured after been shot at by Palestinians in an ambush near Hebron.

14 January 1994 Israeli troops fired anti-tank rockets into a house near Hebron killing the four Palestinians who were barricaded in the house.

18 January Israeli troops opened fire during clashes with Palestinian demonstrators injuring 9 in Hebron.

2 February 1994 Three Israeli settlers were shot and injured by Palestinian gunmen in an ambush near Hebron.

On February 17, 1994, Yuval Golan, stabbed on December 29, 1993 by a Palestinian gunman near Adarim in the Hebron area, died of his wounds.

18 February An Israeli settler's car was ambushed by a Hamas unit near Hebron, killing a pregnant Jewish settler.

25 February 1994, The Goldstein attack on Muslims at prayer in the Ibrahimi Mosque, 29 Palestinians killed. 25 more Palestinians killed in the ensuing riots.

7 April 1994 It was claimed that a settler deliberately ran his car into a Palestinian and his 5 year old son. Israeli police said that it was a car accident.

17 May, 1994 Rafael Yairi (Klumfenbert), 36, of Kiryat Arba, and Margalit Ruth Shohat, 48, of Ma'ale Levona, were killed when their car was fired upon by by gunmen in a passing car near Beit Haggai, south of Hebron.

4 June 1994 A home-made grenade was hurled at an Israeli army post injuring 6 Palestinians. The IDF opened fire at stone throwers and injured 8 of them. In a clash following this incident, 4 soldiers and 6 Palestinians were injured.

17 June 1994 Israeli troops shot and wounded four Palestinians during clashes.

8 July 1994 Drive by shooting of a settler school girl.

18 July 1994 Israeli troops shot and wounded two Palestinians.

22 July 1994 17 Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli troops.

26 August 1994 Israeli troops shot and wounded three Palestinians during a clash at the police square.

September 1994 Members of the "The Jewish Underground of Revenge" are arrested by the Israeli secret police.

22 September 1994 Several thousand West Bank Jewish settlers and their supporters from Israel skirmished with Israeli border police for more than four hours before a group of religious Jews were able to brake into the Ibrahimi Mosque, which has been closed for 7 months after the massacre of 29 Muslims in February. At least four people were injured and 20 were arrested.

1 October 1994 Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian man who stabbed and wounded an Israeli soldier.

7 October 1994 Razi Haymouni, 23, a Palestinian was shot dead by Israeli border police after he tried to pour acid on two policemen near the Ibrahimi Mosque.

16 October 1994 Israeli troops shot dead Imad al-Adarba, 23 in Hebron.

23 October 1994, Nidal Said al-Tamimi, 22, shot dead after he reportedly tried to stab a soldier. He had been recently released from an Israeli jail.

27 November, 1994 Rabbi Amiran Olami, 34, of Otniel was killed and an Israeli policeman wounded near Beit Hagai 10 kms south of Hebron by shots fired from a passing car.

29 November, 1994 Israeli police arrested 10 Jewish settlers as they attempted to invade the Moslem-designated area in the Ibrahimi Mosque. Among those arrested was Yehuda Etzion, who was jailed for attempting to blow up the Dome of the Rock in East Jerusalem in 1984 and was granted amnesty after four years in jail.

15 January 1995 A shoulder-held anti-tank missile (LAW) was fired at a Jewish apartment in Hebron, 10 LAW missiles had been taken from an Israeli Military base on the West Bank.

14 March 1995 4 home made bombs were found by Israeli police on a road at the northern entrance to Hebron.

19 March, 1995 Nahum Hoss, 32, of Hebron and Yehuda Fartush, 41, of Kiryat Arba, were killed and 5 settlers wounded when Palestinian gunmen fired on an Egged bus at a crossroads close to the Kiryat Arba settlement near the entrance to Hebron Several settlers then went on a "rampage" in Halhul village, near Hebron, shooting one Palestinian.

17 April 1995 3 Palestinians killed in IDF ambush.

4 June 1995 A 13-year-old Palestinian boy was killed and his eight-year-old brother was wounded in Hebron when an Israeli army bomb exploded near their home.

29 June 1995 Israeli special forces killed a senior member of Hamas movement in Hebron.

2 July 1995 A 17-year-old Palestinian was killed by an Israeli soldier.

12 July 1995 Settlers demonstrations against the expansion of self rule in the West Bank led to clashes, Israeli police arrested 38 Israeli settlers who blocked the main road leading from Jerusalem to Hebron in the West Bank. The spokesman of the Council of Jewish settlers in the West Bank, said this was the opening salve in a campaign of civil disobedience by the settlers to prevent the extension of Palestinian self-rule.

8 September 1995 Five armed men in Israeli army uniforms, some of them masked, forced their way into private homes in Halhoul town 5 kilometres North of Hebron and interrogated the residents. During the assault they shot dead a young Palestinian man as his father watched. A Jewish extremist organization claimed responsibility for the attack.

9 September 1995 Jewish settlers raided a Palestinian girls school and beat the schools headmistress also injured four pupils who had taken part in a street protest.

14 September Hundreds of Palestinians clashed with Israeli troops, a Palestinian girl and a cameraman from the International Network were injured.

On Saturday 30 September 1995 Yigal Amir (Yitzhak Rabin's assassin) was in a group of 20 Israeli who attacked Kathleen Kern and Wendy Lehman of Christian Peacemaker Team on Duboya Street while the women were filming. It was reported that the demonstrators were throwing stones, eggs and smashed the windows of 13 Palestinian cars and 5 houses.

13 October 1995 The Israeli army closed three offices of the Palestinian Authority in Hebron including the offices of information, municipality and national solidarity, which were located next to Jewish settlers homes in the town.

16 January, 1996 Sgt. Yaniv Shimel and Major Oz Tibon, both of Jerusalem, were killed when Palestinian gunmen fired on their car on the Hebron-Jerusalem road, reportedly in revenge for the assassination of Yehiya Ayyash.

22 March 1996 The Israeli army arrested three Palestinians from Hebron believed to be involved in the suicide bombings in Israel.

2 April 1996 More than 700 Palestinian marched through the city of Hebron protesting the Israeli closure of the West Bank and Gaza from February.

7 April 1996 Two petrol bombs were thrown at an Israeli bus about 100 meters south of the entrance of Beit Omar near Hebron, injuring five Israelis.

January 1, 1997 Hebron Market shot up by Israeli settler/soldier Noam Friedman, wounding seven Palestinians.

31 January 1997 Israelis beat a Palestinian youth and detained him while he was trying to force his way into the Ibrahimi mosque. The incident set off further scuffles.

10 March 1997 Israeli soldiers in Hebron beat Palestinians who tried to stop workers from opening a road for Jewish settlers through land claimed by the Palestinians.

3 weeks of protests throughout the West bank between 21 March and 11 April 1997 as a demonstration against the Israeli settlement construction at Jabal Abu Ghneim (Har Homa), Jerusalem. The protests in Hebron alone led to 2 Dead, Kamal al-Zaro, shot dead at a road block into H2 area and an Israeli settler shot dead Asem Arafeh, 24, a shopkeeper, with 276 injured in the clashes.

Aug. 20, 1998 Rabbi Shlomo Ra'anan, 63, was stabbed to death in the bedroom of his caravan in Hebron

Oct. 26, 1998 Danny Vargas, 29, of Kiryat Arba was shot to death in Hebron.

Jan. 13, 1999 Sergeant Yehoshua Gavriel, 25, of Ashdod, was killed when gunmen opened fire at the Othniel junction near Hebron.

8 August 1999: After a shooting at 2 settlers in Hebron city centre the Hamas military wing, the ‘Iz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades released a statement taking responsibility.

10 February 2000 A Palestinian woman from the West Bank town of Hebron died of a heart attack after Israeli soldiers delayed her transfer to a hospital while they were searching her house. Hebron municipal sources said Fatimah Abu Rmeileh, 62, began feeling ill and her husband asked for an ambulance, while 10 soldiers sealed and searched their house. The Army said it found weapons and anti-Israeli propaganda during routine checks. October 20, 2000 Jordanian citizen Walid J'afreh killed by IDF in Tarqumya, Hebron district

On December 22, 2000 Muhammad Najib ‘Abido, killed by gunfire at Beit Hagai, near Hebron.

Feb. 1, 2001 - Dr. Shmuel Gillis, 42, of Karmei Tzur, was killed by Palestinian gunmen who fired at his car near the Aroub refugee camp on the Jerusalem-Hebron highway.

Mar. 26, 2001 - Shalhevet Pass, age 10 months, was killed by sniper fire at the entrance to the Avraham Avinu neighborhood in Hebron.

On July 19, 2001 Muhammad Helmi a-Tameizi along with Diaa' Marwan a-Tameizi Under 1 year-old and Muhammad Salameh a-Tameizi was shot dead by settlers while driving by Idhna, Hebron district.

27 March 2002 Two Temporary International Presence in Hebron observers were killed by Palestinian gunmen in a shooting attack on the road to Hebron, Cengiz Soytunc (Turkish) and Catherine Berruex (Swiss).

April 2002 Israeli raid on the West Bank city of Hebron. A least 1 Palestinian was killed early in the raid and then at an Israeli checkpoint 1 Palestinian policeman was killed and 4 others wounded. 14 year old Nivin Jamjum was shot dead on 28 July 2002 in Hebron, when settlers rioted in Hebron.

15 November 2002 12 Israelis were killed (Hebron Brigade commander Colonel Dror Weinberg, 8 soldiers and 3 civilians, members of the civil defense unit of Kiryat Arba) in an ambush of Israeli security personnel protecting settlers walking home from Sabbath prayers at the synagogue in the Cave of Machpelah, and of the policemen, security guards and soldiers who rushed to their rescue. 3 Palestinian gunmen were also killed in the 90 minuet fire fight.

16 November 2002 Israeli forces re-enter H1 areas carrying out mass arrests (40) and demolishing 4 houses.

28 November 2002 there are conflicting reports about the death of a 4 year old Palestinian child. IDF reports said the child had been hit by splinters from a hand grenade thrown at soldiers by Palestinian youths.

On May 17, 2003 a pregnant Israeli woman and her husband were killed when a suicide bomber detonated himself next to them in a public square in Hebron. Hamas claimed responsibility.

On September 9, 2003 Thaer Monsur Noman al-Sayouri, aged 9, was killed by IDF tank fire to his head while in his home during an incursion in Hebron.

September 26, 2003: Eyal Yeberbaum, 27, and 7-month old infant Shaked Avraham were shot dead by a Palestinian who knocked on the door of a home in Negohot, 9 km west of Hebron, during a celebratory Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year holiday) dinner. Islamic Jihad took responsibility for the attack.

In 2003 a company of Israeli border police was disbanded after an incident gained international notoriety where 2 border policemen beat a Palestinian and threw him from the back of the jeep which was traveling at approximately 80 kmph to celebrate their end of "tour of duty". In 2008 The 4 Israeli border guards involved in the incident were eventually convicted of the offences of falsifying records, robbery, abduction and the killing of Amran Abu Hamatiya.

On March 10, 2004: Thaer Mohammad Harun Eid al-Halika, 15, of Shioukh al-Aroob, near Hebron, killed by IDF gunfire to his back at close range on his way home near Route 60.

April 25, 2004 the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack in which killed Border Policeman Cpl. Yaniv Mashiah, 20, of Jaffa, and where three others were lightly wounded just an hour after the beginning of Memorial Day for Israel's fallen soldiers when shots were fired at their vehicle near Hebron.

On January 6, 2005 Hamzah Abdul-Minem Jaber 9 years old, killed by an IDF jeep on the main road near his home in Hebron.

On February 14, 2005 after being beaten Sabri Fayez Younis al-Rjoub, 17, of Dura, near Hebron was killed by IDF gunfire to his chest, abdomen, pelvis and right leg.

14 January 2006 The TIPH said dozens of Israeli settler youths attacked five of its members, mostly US citizens, near the "Beit Hadassah" settlement. The workers were slightly injured, and two required medical treatment. Police informed the organization that it would be required to leave the area by 22 January, as all Jewish sections of the city would be closed as a military zone. Israeli security forces were able to suspended the military closure on Jewish areas of Hebron, removed roadblocks at the entrances to settlements and eased identity checks when most of the non-residents, who entered Hebron to support the rioting settlers left.

17 January 2006 Amidst protests against an Israeli order to evict nine Jewish families squatting in an area taken from Palestinians in Hebron after the start of the intifada, Israeli police forcibly removed a handful of settler youths from the squat to try to end days of unrest. Late the previous day, the military had declared the area "a closed military zone" to non-residents.

18 January 2006 Olmert ordered the IDF to immediately remove nine Jewish families (some 50 people) squatting illegally on a Palestinian fruit and vegetable market in Hebron. The decision followed consultations with security officials and the new Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, who is also Justice Minister. The settlers have so far rejected the proposal. Five settlers there were arrested by security forces.

19 January 2006 Israeli troops had shot dead a Palestinian teenager near Hebron IDF and witnesses said he was trying to throw a fire bomb at an IDF patrol near one of the settlements.

On January 21, 2007 The Jewish settler Yifat Alkobi pressed her face while repeatedly hissing "sharmuta" – whore – at her married Palestinian neighbour, Abu Ayesha. A Video of Settler abusing Palestinians in Hebron received International media attention and her actions widely condemned. The Yad Vashem Council Chair slammed settlers for abusing Palestinians Yosef (Tommy) Lapid said in a weekly commentary on Israel Radio that the acts of some Hebron settlers reminded him of persecution endured by Jews in his native Yugoslavia on the eve of World War Two.

"It was not crematoria or pogroms that made our life in the Diaspora bitter before they began to kill us, but persecution, harassment, stone-throwing, damage to livelihood, intimidation, spitting and scorn,".... "In the years that preceded the Holocaust,"... "behind shuttered windows hid terrified Jewish women, exactly like the Arab woman of the Abu-Ayesha family in Hebron."

And where, according to testimony given by Taysir Abu Ayesha, Baruch Marzel broke into the house with 10 other settlers in the winter of 2002, beat him and attempted to drag him into the road before he was rescued by his stick-brandishing father.

On June 8, 2007 Hijazi Muhammad Abdul-Aziz Rzaiqat, 17, of Taffouh, near Hebron, shot to death by IDF gunfire to his chest, abdomen, left shoulder and right thigh while hunting birds with a gun.

On July 3, 2007 Ahmad Abdul-Muhsen Abdul-Rahim al-Skafi, 15, of Hebron, killed by IDF gunfire to his head while carrying a toy gun.

In August of 2007 Hillel Weiss, father of Tehila Yahalom, verbally abused Hebron Brigade commander Col. Yehuda Fuchs, while IDF troops evacuated 2 settler families from the Hebron wholesale market. Bar-Ilan University, where Weiss is a professor, has publicly distanced itself from his remarks and criticized Weiss.

On May 2, 2008 Khalil Ahmad Mahmoud a-Za'arir was killed after attempting to stab a soldiers at a Hebron checkpoint.

February 13, 2008 the 15 month prison sentence and reduction to the rank of private of Lieutenant Ya'akov Gigi was confirmed for a "wild rampage" in the West Bank where Gigi and five of his soldiers hijacked a Palestinian taxi in July 2007 in the West Bank village of Dahariya, near Hebron. The version of events that Gigi gave was found to be false. First Sergeant Dror, who shot a Palestinian in the neck severely wounding him claims that the way the Palestinian looked at him was enough to classify him as a "suspect" and to justify opening fire.

In February 2008 the IDF ordered an orphanage run by the Islamic Charitable Society (ICS), that houses 240 orphans, in Hebron closed, based on the ICS's alleged promotion of terrorism. The ICS disputes these charges.

On 9 July 2008 Avner Inbar, an Israeli, taking a group of South African Human rights activists, that included Zackie Achmat and Edwin Cameronon, on a tour of Hebron reported that the group was verbally abused by settlers. Three Israelis were arrested for disturbing the peace.

al-Ras Mosque, located next to al-Rajabi House settlement became the target of settler attacks during early August 2008 with large quantities of rubbish were placed at the entrance of the Mosque and was again attacked on August 11 2008 when Israeli settlers from the al-Rajabi House settlement attempted to set fire to the mosque.

During the second week of August 2008 a total of five civilians – three Palestinians and two foreigners, including two UNRWA staff and one child, were physically assaulted and injured.

On 7 August 2008 Israeli settlers from Giv'at Ha'avot settlement (next to Kiryat Arba) attacked five nearby Palestinian houses with rocks and bottles.

In August 2008 Hebron settlers attacked a group of visiting UK diplomats. Breaking the Silence only take small parties so as not to constitute a "group" as settlers regularly attacked "Breaking the Silence" tours.

See Also

Israeli–Palestinian conflict
Violence in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict
Media coverage of the Arab–Israeli conflict

Timeline of violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Footnotes

Bibliography

  • Burkett, Elinor Golda Meir: The Iron Lady of the Middle East ISBN 978-1906142131
  • Gorenberg, Gershom The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967-1977, Times Books, Henry Holt & Co., New York 2007 ISBN 978-0-8050-8241-8
  • Zachary Lockman, Joel Beinin (1989) Intifada: The Palestinian Uprising Against Israeli Occupation South End Press, ISBN 0896083632 and ISBN 9780896083639
  • Brown, Cynthia G. (Human Rights Watch) and Karim, Farhad (Human Rights Watch) (1995) Playing the "communal Card": Communal Violence and Human Rights Human Rights Watch, ISBN 1564321525 and ISBN 9781564321527
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