HEBRON: BACKGROUND ON THE SITUATION

CPTNET Mar. 12, 1997

The following is a translation from the Hebrew of a flyer recently distributed in Israel at a vigil by an organization known as WOMEN IN BLACK. This organization became active during the INTIFADA years, taking its original impetus from the woman's protest movement in Argentina during the days of military rule when murder and gross violations of human rights were rampant in that country. We share it with you as background for people's support efforts of the FAST FOR REBUILDING in Hebron.

"HAR HOMA IS ONLY ONE SUCH EXAMPLE..."

FLYER Headline: The Occupation Is Not Yet Over

The Territories

* Israel continues to be in sole control of 78% of the West Bank and 44% of the Gaza Strip. This is true even though Jewish settlers comprise only 6% of the population of the territories.

* Israel continues to confiscate thousands of acres from the Palestinians in order to expand settlements and build bypass roads to them. Har Homa is only one such example. Not only is this a violation of international law, but creating "facts on the ground" pre-empts any good faith negotiation with the Palestinians in the final status talks.

Closure [=sealing in the occupied territories]

* Since March 1993, closure has never fully been lifted, although there are periods during which it is eased. Closure plays havoc with the Palestinian economy, which is dependent upon Palestinian workers entering Israel.

* Approximately 29% of the Palestinian labor force in the territories is unemployed. During closure, unemployment soars to 50% in the West Bank and an astounding 70% in Gaza.

* The Palestinian economy has sharply deteriorated since the Oslo Agreement. Between 1992 and 1996, the real per capita GNP in the Palestinian territories plunged by almost 40%, from $2400 to $1500 per annum.

* Most damaging has been the "internal closure" in which Palestinians are not allowed to leave their towns or villages. This has a devastating effect on access to health services, schools, food products, and commerce.

* Thousands of Palestinian students cannot attend university because of Israel's failure to comply with the Oslo agreement to provide passage between the West Bank and Gaza. Some of these students have also been subjected to pressure by the Israeli security forces to become collaborators.

Other Occupational Hazards

* House demolitions continue to take place in the territories, sometimes as a punitive measure against the families of suspected terrorists, sometimes to pressure the inhabitants to emigrate, and sometimes to prevent Palestinian economic development (especially in East Jerusalem). In recent days, demolition orders were issued by the Israeli authorities against approximately 1,000 more Palestinian homes, which will leave thousands of innocent persons, many of them children and old folks, without a roof over their heads.

* The Oslo Agreements give Israel far-reaching control over the autonomous areas of the Palestinian Authority -- control over access by land, sea and air; veto power over bills in the Palestinian Legislative Assembly; and the right to enter any part of the autonomy at will for what Israel deems to be its security needs.

Occupation is wrong; it is also counterproductive. Peace will come only when Israel recognizes the rights of the Palestinian people to their own sovereign state, and both sides sign an agreement based on justice and mutual respect.


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/