Saturday, May 31, 2008

Hebron Orphanages and Schools on BBC

In the evening of May 27, and in one of its main news programmes, BBC covered the story of the orphanages and schools of the Islamic Charitable Society (ICS) in Hebron. A result of long and good planning by the producer Daniel Clarke and Middle East Correspondent Tim Franks of BBC Jerusalem.

In order to listen to the report, please click here.

Tim Franks

BBC Middle East Correspondent

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Christian Peacemaker Team in Hebron
For Immediate Release, 29 May 2008
CPT Contacts: office 011-972-(0)2 222 8485,
For more information visit

Act Now! Stop the Closing of Orphanages and Schools in Hebron by the Israeli Military

Breaking News:
In his meeting on May 21st with members of the Steering Committee for Supporting the Orphans, Mr. Jawad Bulos, lawyer for the Islamic Charitable Society(ICS), gave a briefing on the legal side of closing and confiscating the ICS facilities."The very first moment the Charity received the closure orders I appealed to the Military Legal Advisor and asked him to arrange a meeting with me. The advisor refused to meet me and later he rejected our appeal. I was forced, then, to appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court," said Bulos.'' Five days after my appeal to the court, the court unexpectedly refused to issue a stop order (prohibition order). I was informed later that the court will not discuss our appeal before October,'' added Mr. Bulos. Although it appears that the military is working towards closure on the ground Bulos does not think that the military will take further actions that might embarrass the court. Yet, '' I can not trust the Israeli Military,'' he said. These events leave the future of the orphanages and schools in a confused state.
Bulos further stated, “We discussed all details and ways of getting out of this tunnel. The military officers seemed not interested”. He concluded his briefing by saying that he believes that the work of both local and international groups is equally important.

Act Now!

It is therefore of utmost importance that all NGOs and internationals who have been involved in this campaign continue to pressure their governments to insist that Israel not only stop this action but also pay restitution for the losses suffered by the institutions involved. Please contact your Congress Representatives or Members of Parliament as soon as possible.

The Steering Committee also encourages all NGOs or visitor to the West Bank to spend a night or more in the Orphanages to discourage the Israeli Army from further actions.

Contact CPT Hebron for these arrangements: (subject line should contain Hebron Orphanage)

You can find the Israeli embassy in your country at

Embassy in Tel Aviv:
The Canadian Embassy, PO Box 9442,
Tel Aviv67060, Israel.
Fax: (011 972 3) 636-3380. Email:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper,
Office of the Prime Minister,
80 Wellington Street Canada,
K1A 0A2. Fax: 613-941-6900

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada,
Maxime Bernier,
House of Commons Ottawa ON, K1A 0A6.
Fax: (613) 995-0687

You can mail your MP at the House of Commons address, or find their email address at

UNITED KINGDOMEmbassy in Tel Aviv:
British Embassy,
192 Hayarkon StreetTel Aviv 63405,
Israel. Tel:(+972 3) 725 1222;
Fax: (+ 972 3) 527 8574.
Email: webmaster.telaviv@

Prime Minister Gordon Brown,
10 Downing Street,
London SW1A 2AA
To email the Prime Minister go to

Foreign Secretary David Miliband,
Foreign and Commonwealth Office,
King Charles Street,
London SW1A 2AH.
Tel: 020 7008-1500

To email MP, MEP's, MSPs, or Northern Ireland, Welsh and London AMs,
go to

Contact details for UK Members of Parliament and House of Lords:

Contact details for the Members of the Scottish Parliaments:

Contact PM Fredrik ReinfeldtPhone:46 8 405-1000,
email via senior registry

Contact Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt,
Phone: 46-8-405-1000 ,
email via senior registry clerk:

Embassy in Tel Aviv:
US Embassy71 Hayarkon Street,
Tel Aviv 63903,Israel.
Email: Mary Glantz, Human Rights, glantzme@state.Gov;
Michelle Schohn,,

President George W Bush,
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW,
Washington, DC 20500

Register your message with the White House Comment Line:202-456-1111

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice,
2201 C Street NW, Washington,
DC 20520

To contact your Senator go to contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

To contact your Representative go to
Or call the Capitol Switchboard at(202)-224-3132
and ask for the appropriate Congressional office.

Please write to the Israeli military and urge them to return the confiscated properties. Send appeals electronically to:

Volunteers Urgently Needed To Stay At Orphanages And Schools

We are inviting all concerned to visit the Orphanages, to spend a night there, or more, with the children, to eat with them, to tour the city, where poverty and closures are destroying a once thriving economy. “The once prosperous West Bank city of Hebron is now facing a more than 70% increase in poverty due to the continuing Israeli closures, a study by the Palestinian centre for Communication and Development Studies has shown.” (Maannews). This is the only means of saving these resources and the only homes that these children have.

Steering Committee for the Orphans of Hebron
All arrangements should be made through Christian Peacemaker Teams(CPT)
CPT Contacts:
office: 02 222 8485

Facts Speak Louder than Lies

On Tuesday, 26 February, the Israeli military entered buildings of the Islamic Charitable Society (ICS) in Hebron, handing over 6 military orders for confiscations and closure of the various facilities of the society. The orders included: two bakeries, an apartment building and administrative buildings, a new shopping mall, a warehouse, three schools and two orphanages.

The army had already confiscated a warehouse with over $300,000 worth of school supplies, clothing, and food, as well as two new school buses and a van. The Israeli Army also seized an apartment building with thirty units and removed two bakeries supplying 5,000 families with bread and all the equipment removed. They welded shut the gates of a $2,000,000 school for 1200 students, scheduled to open on September 2008 and confiscated and closed a sewing center where the girls learned a craft and earned small sums of money.

In each of these incursions, the army seized all that was movable, ripped equipment out of the walls, took bread, flour, pots, pans, computers, and, in short, emptied these buildings of all usable and useful contents. They threw the cloth and machines from the sewing center on the town dump as they left the city.

The Islamic Charitable Society has been serving the needs of the poor of Hebron since 1962, providing support to 7000 needy people and orphans, educating 1700 students and sheltering 240 orphans in orphanages.

The recent military orders constitute a new and particularly worrying development, since they refer to confiscation and transfer of ownership of private property in the H1 Area of Hebron (under Palestinian control) to the IDF. The orders deprive the beneficiaries, a particularly vulnerable population, of specialized services that provide much needed support and fundamental coping mechanisms. The IDF has allegedly so far confiscated all the contents of four establishments but is yet to implement the remaining provisions of the orders, i.e., eviction from the property and transfer of ownership of the property. Given the vulnerability of the affected persons, most of whom are children, the humanitarian and human rights implications are severe.

The Israeli measures in Hebron constitute a series of violations to articles 6 and 7 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; article 39 of the Fourth Geneva Convention; article. 38 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child; article 50 (GCIV), which stipulates the duty of the Occupying Power to facilitate the proper working of all institutions devoted to the care and education of children; article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which relates to right to education of children; and article 9 of UDHR, which guarantees protection against arbitrary arrest and detention. An identical protection is guaranteed by Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Furthermore, the measures are a violation of the Oslo Agreement and the Hebron Agreement that were signed by Israel in 1995 and 1997, respectively.

The military orders charge is that the Charities are a front or fund raiser for Hamas, or possibly that some of the ICS staff or board are implicated in some way. However, as yet no proof has been offered to the Charities, the press or the many NGOs involved in protecting the orphans.

The Israeli military goes further in its accusations claiming that the ICS schools teach incitement and hatred, promote Hamas’ goals and recruit terrorists. The accusations are totally baseless. The curriculum taught at the schools is the same as the Palestinian Authority’s (which the army describes as moderate). The Charity, especially the schools, is willing to undergo any investigations by a credible and neutral organization to prove the truth about the accusations.

The ICS supports orphans on the basis of their being orphans only. It does not differentiate between orphans whose fathers were collaborators or those whose fathers were killed by Israelis or died in accidents or from illness . It is not an ICS policy to refuse care for any needy orphan for whatever reason. The Israeli classifications of orphans according to the fate of their parensts is in fact strangeare . Instead of spending time on such classifications, they should instead stop being a major cause of increasing numbers of orphans.

The ICS does not provide any support, of any kind, to families of prisoners. Although supporting the families of prisoners is a national responsibility, it is not, again, an ICS policy to do so. The only support that the ICS does in this regard is continuing to pay salaries to its employees when they face administrative detention. This is not a new trend in the occupied territories. The PA, UNRWA and NGOs do the same. Once more, the Israelis should stop their inequitable collective punishment and irrational policy towards the Palestinians, rather than labeling those who try to alleviate the hardships of affected people, as terrorists.

Dozens of international supporters have spent days and nights at the schools and orphanages and reported seeing only normal, happy children, living and learning in a caring and concerned environment totally devoid of terrorism. The ICS has received endorsement of support from former President Jimmy Carter, the European Parliament, World Vision, Defense for Children International, YMCA, and International Women’s Peace Service.

The Israeli military’s actions have been totally inhumane in confiscating the buses, food, and clothes destined for the orphanages, schools and needy families. It would seem illogical to equate school buses and sewing machines with tools of terrorism.

That once prosperous West Bank city of Hebron is now facing a more than 70% increase in poverty due to the continuing Israeli closures, a study by the Palestinian Centre for Communication and Development Studies has shown. Moreover, any visit to the once vibrant town will show the same decline. Removing the most important safety net from the thousands of families and children who depend upon the Charities will wreak devastation for Hebron.

There exists neither a substitute charitable or public fund nor the time to create one, were that be possible. If indeed the army has proof of these charges, then they should produce it for the communities that will be harmed by their actions and not, as usual, only to closed Israeli tribunals. Even if the charges are made public and can be verified, which would probably have been done by now if it could have been done, destroying the bakeries that have fed them, the sewing school that taught them a craft and closing the new schools that would have offered an education to hundreds of young boys and girls in this impoverished city, -- these are clearly collective punishments, that the Israeli army has imposed to intimidate and crush the local population and to remove their final hope.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Mr. Bulos : '' I can't trust the Israeli Military ''

In his meeting with the steering committee of saving orphans, Mr. Jawad Bulos, the Charity's Lawyer, gave the committee a briefing on the legal side of closing and confiscating the ICS facilities.

"The very first moment the charity received the closure orders I appealed to the Military Legal Advisor and asked him to arrange a meeting with me. The Advisor refused to meet me and later he responded rejecting our appeal. I was forced, then, to appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court," said Bulos.

Again, the Israeli Supreme Court was not a better choice for Bulos than the Legal advisor. '' After five days of my appeal to the court, the court refused to issue a stop order (prohibition order) which is normal in such cases. I was informed later that the court will not discuss our appeal before October,'' added Mr. Bulos.

The expert man of courts is left confused. The Military is working on the ground, the court will not issue an order before October and the stop order is absent. Despite these facts, Bulos does not think that the Military may take further actions to embarrass the court or to create a new trend in the Israeli courts. Yet, '' I can not trust the Israeli Military,'' he remarked.
The expert lawyer, who seemed hopeless, tries to make use of his proficiency in negotiating. This time not in courts but with the Military officers. '' We met with them once. We discussed all details and ways of getting out of this tunnel. The Military officers seemed not interested,'' he thought. Bulos believes that a major part of the solution is political.

Jawad Bulos, a Greek Orthodox Palestinian Christian from Galilee, was born in 1956. He got his degree in Law from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1980. Since then, he has been defending Palestinians. Mr. Bulos has a reputation of being consistent , patient and expert.
You may write Mr. Bulos at:

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Israeli Military Threw Sewing Machines into City Dump

It was discovered ,few days ago, that the Israeli military had thrown all material confiscated from the bakeries and sewing workshop into the city dump. Eye witnesses confirmed that an Israeli truck stopped by the city dump at 5.30pm on Thursday 1st of May.

'' More than fifty scrap collectors were waiting for the truck and emptied it in less than 30 minutes,'' H. W. told our team. These included sewing machines, steam iron, dough mixers, dresses, desks, chairs…..

Some people led our team to some locations where some of the machines were kept.

To see photos, please click: