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Israeli Army Invades Orphanage in Hebron

April 30, 2008 In earlier blog entries
(see http://mptinpalestine.blogspot.com/2008/04/israeli-treatment-of-orphans.html and http://mptinpalestine.blogspot.com/2008/04/children-and-conflict-in-hebron.html), the Michigan Peace Team described the conditions surrounding the girl’s orphanage and school in Hebron. The orphanage is threatened with closure, and the Israelis had set a date of April 28 to take possession of the contents of the Islamic Charitable Society’s sewing workshop, located in the basement of one of the girls’ orphanages. The Israeli Government was planning the invasion of a Palestinian girl’s orphanage even though:

1. All evidence points to a legitimate orphanage and school that meets the Palestine Authority
curriculum criteria.
2. The school adheres to public accounting criteria, which documents revenue and expenditures.
3. These records are open for public review, and the Israeli government and Palestinian
Authority check any foreign money going through banks.
4. The Israeli Army has not documented justification in the Israeli court system for the
5. There are 110 girls residing in the orphanage and 645 girls attending the school.

Former President Carter, on his Peace Mission to the Middle East last week commented on the several schools and orphanages as follows:

“The Islamic Charitable Society has been serving the needs of the poor of Hebron since 1962, and should be allowed to continue their good work. I ask people of good will to join me on behalf of the orphans and students. Together, we ask the Israeli military to rescind the closure orders against the orphanages and schools so that 240 children will not lose the place they’ve come to know as home and 1,700 students will not be thrown out of school.”

The Israeli actions have the appearance of an occupying nation (Israel) suppressing an occupied people (Palestine). Therefore Tthe MPT joined with fifteen other internationals to occupy the orphanage and school through the night on April 27 and 28 when the Israeli deadline arrived. There were people from Belgium, Canada, England, Germany, Scotland, and the USA. The MPT had prior commitments in the South Hebron Hills and was planning to rejoin the group on Friday May 2. However, this will now not be necessary, as Christian Peacemakers Teams reported April 30, 2008:

“At 1:00 am …. April 30th, the Israeli Military raided the Hebron Girls' Orphanage near the intersection of Salaam and Al Adel (Peace and Justice) Streets. Acting on orders issued by Major General Shemni, soldiers looted the workshop of all its sewing and processing machines, office equipment, rolls of cloth, finished clothing and supplies. The Israeli invasion of an unprotested and peaceful orphanage was documented, with still photos and video. Approximately 40 Israeli soldiers emptied the workshop contents into 2 - 40ft. trucks. The estimated value of the physical material taken is $45,000 US. The cost in terms of the fear and terror instilled in the hearts of the little girls living above the workshop is much higher.”

The Christian Peacemaker Teams with their coalition of several other groups and individuals was there and captured with photos and videos the Israeli invasion as it occurred. It was a truly disturbing sight for humanity, and perhaps that is why the Israeli army in the dead of night executed it while Palestinianse and Israelis were asleep. However, the girls in the orphanage were forced to witness the Israeli invasion

( Following Photographs Provided by CPT)

Israeli SoldiersRemoving Equipment and Supplies from Girls Orphanage

Israeli Soldiers Gathered Around Fabric Cutting Table

Israeli Soldiers Taking Fabric from Girls Orphanage

Israeli Soldiers Loading Israeli Truck with Fabric, Supplies,
Office Equipment and Sewing Machines Taken From
Girls Orphanage

More Fabric Being Taken by Israeli Soldier from Orphanage

Should people begin to question whether the Israeli government and its soldiers have demonstrated a continued commitment to the execution of war crimes against the Palestinian people? These pictures were taken at 2:00 am as the soldiers broke-in to a girls orphanage and stole the contents of the girls sewing room. There were no weapons present except those carried by the Israeli military. By conducting this invasion in the dark of the night, these Israeli soldiers and the Israeli government seem to demonstrate a lack of courage and justice. If this were a legitimate action, why did it have to occur at night with no one around except orphans? One might also question the moral values of these soldiers and their government in bringing violence to those least capable of defending themselves, i.e. an orphanage of young girls.

Below are some pictures of the residents of the orphanage taken the day preceding the nighttime raid by the Israeli soldiers.

(Following Photographs Provided by MPT)

Hebron Orphans Pleading for Peace

Some of the Orphans Affected by the Israeli Invasion of the Hebron Orphanage

Girls at Orphanage-School Invaded by Israeli Soldiers

When the Israeli soldiers raided the bakery associated with the Islamic Charitable Society two weeks earlier, they torched the bakery upon leaving, using the fuel stored in the bakery for its ovens. Fortunately, these Israeli soldiers at the orphanage exercised some restraint by not doing the same to the orphanage. However, the trauma imposed on these girls does not relieve these Israeli soldiers of their responsibility for such unconscionable spineless acts against innocent children.

One would have to wonder how Israelis could bring peace to a troubled land when people like Major General Shemni and the Israeli government continue on this path of stealing land, buildings, and supplies from the Palestinian people. In this invasion of the sewing workshop and taking of it contents, Israel has benefited significantly at a high cost to the Palestinian people. If Israel were truly committed to peace with justice, would it not be important for the Israeli government to begin giving back to the Palestinian people the land, homes, businesses, and freedom of travel it has taken from them along with economic assistance for years of suppression?

Some of the Residents of the Orphanage and People That
Had Offered Support to the Orphans

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