Tuesday, April 15, 2008

CPT Release

10 April 2008
HEBRON: Press conference for Hebron orphanages

The Popular Committee for Supporting the Orphanages hosted a press conference at the Hebron Girls Orphanage on 7 April 2008. Approximately seventy people attended, including independent media, internationals, and clergy. The Israeli military had given orders to shut down the orphanages and schools run by the Islamic Charitable Society by 7 April.

The lawyer representing the Islamic Charitable Society spoke of the its work, which serves 2,500 children, 240 of them orphans, and aids an additional 4,000 students and 5,000 needy families. The society also runs a dairy, two bakeries, a warehouse, and four small storefronts that serve the schools and orphanages in the Hebron area. The Israeli military raided the warehouse, bakeries, and the storefronts on 6 March 2008, confiscating food, clothing, school supplies, refrigerators, and two buses worth $300,000.

The lawyer also noted that certified public accountants audit and the Palestinian Authority monitors the monies donated to support the orphanages and schools. The books are open for the Israeli government to audit as well. Twenty percent of the monies donated come from the Hebron local community. The other eighty percent comes from Europe, the U.S., and Middle Eastern countries. The Islamic Charitable Society enjoys the respect of both locals and non-governmental organizations such as Catholic Charities.

During the conference, Rabbi Arik Ascherman of Rabbis for Human Rights addressed the audience via speakerphone, saying that under Jewish law, evidence and witnesses must be brought before the court to support an accusation. Because the Islamic Charitable Society has threatened no human life, Ascherman contended, the Israeli authorities cannot cite security issues to justify a closure.

Members of CPT and other internationals have slept at the orphanages to accompany the staff and children and to document any possible incursion by the Israeli military. By midnight of 7 April, the attorney for the Israeli military had asked for an extension to prepare and submit to the court a full justification for the closures of the schools and orphanages.
check: http://www.cpt.org/cptnet/2008/04/10/hebron-press-conference-hebron-orphanages

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