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August 1998 
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H E B R O N   U N D E R   S I E G E



When the Hebron Agreement was forced on the Arafat Regime by the Americans in early 1997 to "reinvigorate" the "Peace Process", independent experts knew right then it was another terrible Palestinian defeat that would only lead to further bloodshed.

Having signed one duplicitous agreement after another - Oslo, Washington, and Cairo - Arafat had "led" the Palestinians into another ambush.

And sure enough, the historic city today remains controlled by the Israeli army, and more Israeli buildings and settlers have just been promised by Prime Minister Bibi.

This report from a Palestinian human rights organization describes the seige of Hebron currently underway. Additional Hebron articles will be coming from MER shortly.

See HEBRON MAGAZINE at: http://www.MiddleEast.Org/Hebron.htm



The complete blockade [and curfew] of the city [of Hebron for the past week] is a collective punishment by Israeli Authorities intended to injure the 400,000 Palestinians living there. Israeli occupation forces with armed Israeli settlers have been terrorizing Hebronites.

Residents have been forced to travel long distances, sometimes across unsafe mountain tracks, to enter the western or eastern suburbs of the city. A second child has died; it has been reported that the newly-born daughter of Fadwa Abdul Salaam Al Alam died during delivery because Israeli forces turned the delivering mother away at a checkpoint.

Israelis Deliberately Worsen Water Shortage Units from the Israeli forces have been shooting on water tanks on the roofs to worsen the acute water shortage they have help to create. Furthermore, they have prevented vehicles with water tanks from reaching a number of sections of the city. There have also been incidents reported of Israeli soldiers shooting at residents who have tried to get water across the checkpoints or the roofs of houses.

Health Facilities at Crisis Point Hospitals in the city suffer from a lack of medical drugs and water and are working with only 50% of their usual workforce. Israeli authorities have prevented the free movement of ambulances and have asked them to obtain special permits should the need arise to transfer emergency cases. Many pregnant women have been forced to walk by foot across the mountains to reach hospitals for delivery of their babies.

It has been reported that, yesterday around 7pm, the newly-born daughter of Fadwa Abdul Salaam Al Alam died after delivery because Israeli forces turned away her pregnant mother, forcing her to travel some 60 kilometres, using by-pass roads, to enter the city hospital. The child died one hour after delivery due to an inability to breathe. This is the second death in one week due to the Israeli forces' refusal to allow Palestinians to enter Hebron. On Sunday 22 August, 3-month old Qusay Hanni Tammimi died Israeli forces have also impeded garbage collectors from carrying out their duties thus adding to the already deteriorating environmental and health situation in the city. Neighborhoods in the Old City have requested LAW society to send emergency calls for humanitarian, medical and environmental aid.

Israeli Military Terrorize Locals

Settlers have continued their attacks on Palestinian families who live nearby the illegal settlements, without hindrance and with impunity. Israeli forces have been busy raiding houses and numerous people have been assaulted and have reported damage inflicted to their property. A number of Palestinian shops have been totally destroyed as have 24 stands used by peddlers in the public market. In the last 96 hours, around 29 cars have been attacked and destroyed.

Nine citizens have been injured in addition to the earlier 14. Israeli forces have deployed 20 additional checkpoints on house roofs in the Old City and four schools have been placed under curfew in the southern part of Hebron in the neighborhoods of Yanoon, Joha and Ashuhada.

Palestinian sources have estimated the financial losses of the closure and curfew at 21 million dollars. Particularly affected has been the industrial zone, which has incurred losses in production, marketing and labor fees.

Curfew Used to Confiscate Land

The killing of an extremist Israeli settler Rabbi a week ago appears to have been used to undertake settlement expansion under the cover of military operations against Palestinians living in Hebron.

Settlers have taken over land that belongs to the Abu Eisha, Abu Haikal, and Al Jibali families in the adjacent Rumedia neighborhood. The land is expected to be used to expand the colonies in the settlement of Ramat Yashai. The Israeli government has allocated the sum of eight million dollars to replace the caravans there with permanent houses.

Also, settlers have already started their expanding activities in the settlement of Abraham Avino, located in the centre of Hebron. In this area, Israeli settlers set the house of Nidal Al Awewi alight. His wife and children suffered injuries from the fumes, but were unable to attend hospital as settlers attacked the ambulance driver who had arrived to assist them.

[From the LAW organization in Jerusalem, 8/27 - The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment.



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