Israeli Government: "Immoral, Unethical And Illegal"
By Eileen Fleming
15 June, 2008
On June 5, 2008, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate from Northern Ireland, Maried Corrigan-Maguire a keynote speaker at the third annual Bil'in conference on nonviolence traveled to Hebron. Maried had been invited by friends who volunteer with Christian Peacemaker Team's based there.
On arrival in Hebron we met with the Administrator of the Hebron Orphanages. He explained that the Israeli army is threatening to close 14 schools and orphanages in the Hebron district.
Eight of these schools and orphanages belong to the Islamic Charitable Society, while the remaining six belong to the Muslim Youth Society.(On 26th February the Israeli army forces handed over military orders of closures and confiscations of two bakeries, administrative buildings, a warehouse, three schools and two orphanages. All of these owned by the ICS.)
He took us to see a newly built school owned by ICS , (cost of one million) which was due to be opened in August, but is now closed. The Israeli Military has welded the gates of the school closed and the reason given, as for all these closures are, 'security'. Beside the school we visited a large warehouse and met the caretaker. He explained that in March the Israeli Military arrived at 3 a.m., and left at 9 a.m., they tied him up and proceeded to pack and removed all the food and clothing in the Warehouse and destroy the interior of the buildings, smashing everything in sight. The contents of the warehouse were for the orphans and the poor and the premises run by Islamic Charitable Society. We then visited a burn't out bakery (there was another destroyed Bakery but time did not permit a visit). Again the Israeli military destroyed the entire interior, burning completely the huge baking oven. This bakery cooked over 3,000 loaves of bread, and was subsidized by charity, to feed the orphans and poor.
The jobs created by these Islamic Charitable projects, are gone and in the short time not able to be replaced. We also visited a Boys' and Girls' Orphanage both under military orders of closure. The ICS will challenge these closures in court, but in the meantime the Israeli military are systematically during the night, raiding and destroying the buildings. The fear now is that the Orphanages and school will be raided and destroyed.
The excuse given is that these Islamic Institutions are a front for 'hamas' but the Islamic Charitable Society was established in l962, and all their financial dealings and accounting are completely open.
The money for the school and orphanages comes from local investments (they have their own businesses) from donors abroad and from Arab and Western countries (Prince Charles, through a UK Trust has donated towards these orphanages).
This behavior is immoral, unethical and illegal and the Israeli Government should be held accountable, by the International Community, for its abuse of the rights of the children to safety and education.
The World must act against this ongoing destruction by Israel of the Palestinian people and their institutions, and by Israeli racist and apartheid policies, in the villages and cities of occupied Palestine, including the siege of Gaza.
Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate
Hebron, in the Palestinian occupied territories.
5th June, 2008.
In June 2005, I made my first and last trip to Hebron, the most painful place I have ever been.
I was nauseated the entire day for the oppression was visceral. The narrow, winding stone streets that for centuries had been trod by Palestinians were eerily empty in many areas except for the open air market street and another where apartment buildings were on one side Israeli, and the other Palestinian. The only connection to the other side of the street was a thick deeply sagging netting strung over head. Huge rocks, shovels, electronic equipment, furniture, and all manner of debris had been flung upon it and I wondered if I would be underneath when it gave way.
Jerry told me, "It gets cleaned out about every year or so. Come back in a few months, and this netting will be much closer to your head. The settlers just throw whatever they want onto the netting; they do whatever they want and get away with it. The CPT's run interference by nonviolent resistance; we get the children and woman to where they need to be going and back again. Sometimes, the settlers curse and stone us all; it keeps it interesting."
We then walked to a desolate area and Jerry pointed out all the empty and formerly Palestinian homes that the settlers had painted graffiti and Stars of David on. It was not a nightmare, but reality when I saw spray painted on a now empty, but formerly Palestinian home, "GAS THE ARABS."
I told Jerry Hebron was hell on earth and he replied, "You haven't seen anything, until you see Gaza."
And that was in 2005.