HEBRON: CHRISTIAN PEACEMAKERS OPPOSE HAR HOMA CONSTRUCTION
March 20, 1997
JERUSALEM -- After completing more than 450 hours of a 700 hour (29 day) public fast to lament Israel's policy of demolishing Palestinian homes, members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) in Hebron took their witness to the steps of their own U.S. Consulate in West Jerusalem. With chains in hand, team members called for a halt to Israel's construction of a new Jewish housing project called Har Homa in Palestinian East Jerusalem. Bulldozers broke ground on the project two days ago ignoring near unanimous international condemnation of the new neighborhood as a threat to the peace process.
CPTers Cliff Kindy, a 47 year old organic farmer from North Manchester, IN, and 70 year old Anne Montgomery, a Catholic nun from Brooklyn, NY, attempted to chain themselves to the Consulate's front doors, but were immediately stopped from doing so by Consulate security and Israeli police. The two promptly sat on the front steps, refused to move, and asked to see a Consulate representative -- a request they were denied.
"We are here to say, 'We Veto the Veto!'" said Montgomery, referring to the March 7 U.S. veto of a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel's Har Homa plans. Again on March 13, the U.S. and Israel stood alone in voting against a UN General Assembly resolution calling on Israel to refrain from building. Kindy stated, "Our government says it is opposed to Har Homa, but it's lack of action says something very different. We are here to act with our words and our bodies to say Har Homa is wrong. Our government must use strong actions too."
Kindy and Montgomery were carried off by Israeli officers to waiting police cars and transported to a police station where they were detained and interrogated for 3 1/2 hours before being released.
Other team members attempting to express their concerns were also refused access to Consulate representatives. "The construction of Har Homa is fundamentally linked to our stand against Israel's policy of demolishing Palestinian homes to pave the way for settlement expansion," said CPTer Mark Frey of Newton KS. Noting that such construction violates international law which prohibits building in Occupied Territories, Frey added, "This is no equation for peace."
CPTers in Hebron initiated the 700 hour "Fast for Rebuilding" on behalf of 700 Palestinian families throughout the West Bank whose homes are targeted for demolition by the Israeli government because their land is adjacent to Israeli settlements or bypass roads.
Christian Peacemaker Team-Hebron members are Mark Frey (N. Newton, KS), Cliff Kindy (N. Manchester, IN), Anne Montgomery (Brooklyn, NY), Sara Reschly (Tucson, AZ), and Dianne Roe (Corning, NY).
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 6508 Chicago, IL 60680 tel 312-455-1199 FAX 312-666-2677 email firstname.lastname@example.org WEB http://www.prairienet.org/cpt/