Monitoring the settler tour Hebron, February 2020, Palestine

This, the weekly settler tour, is a confusing experience for us, foreigners from the UK, here in Hebron, Palestine. We are new to this, working for CPT (Christian Peacemaker Teams), and struggle to make sense of this place and these events. Each week, the IDF (Israeli Defense Force .. the “most moral army in the world” according to the Israeli State, and note that we distinguish between the Israeli state and the Israeli people), gather and emerge from their camps and bases behind the checkpoints to ‘escort’ guard, and enable an invasion by an uninvited, and un-permitted group of Jewish people.

These Jewish folk may be here for God knows what reason individually, but one thing is clear, they have not passed through any legitimate frontier seeking visas or permission to be in this place. They have literally barged into the homeland of Palestinians under military protection, and are now barging into the very centre of the Old City .

And, in addition, they will justify their mission to take over this place on the basis that Yaweh (God) apparently encouraged Abraham and his followers, or is it tribe, to invade and take over this land many years ago. Or so the bible stories have it. As many know they, the settlers, the army and the state, will justify this invasion on the basis that Jews lived in Hebron up until around 1929, when they were evacuated by the British for their own safety after many Jews were killed by Muslims here.

What the settler won’t tell you is that the 1929 massacre of Jews followed the influx of religious Jews from Europe – an immigration permitted by the British who held a UN mandate to govern Palestine in 1917. This mass immigration in the 1920s, of European Jews led to violence as they attempted to gain access to religious sites including the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. In other words the European Jewish immigration in the 1920s and the ensuing violence at religious boundaries instigated by zionists who wanted a Jewish only State, were an incitement to violence in which Jews , and let’s not forget, Palestinians too were killed.

it was sparked by the incitement of the Hagana and Betar (the Revisionist organization) taunting Arabs at the Al-Buraq Sanctuary of the Haram al-Sharif (Western Wall) … Same trick used by Ariel Sharon in 2000 to spark the Second Intifada …

see Alex Winder

The Jewish settlers from Europe have no historical or ethnic connection with Hebron. And Zionism contains the roots of its own destruction:

Because Zionism is not sure of itself. It knows that it brought a catastrophe upon another people and it knows that the fire of evil and injustice is burning beneath the carpet upon which it treads. If Zionism were certain of its righteousness, it would put itself to the test like any other worldview and it would be permissible to doubt it. Israel in 2020 is not yet ready for that. A true left will only arise here when we wean ourselves of the addiction to Zionism and free ourselves from its chains.

In Israel, Zionism is a religion, and it is mandatory: Haaretz
Gideon Levy | Mar. 5, 2020 | 3:03 AM | 2

The so-called tour of settlers, with their tour guide, is accompanied by a gaggle of heavily armed soldiers, who prevent us or any Palestinians getting too close. They walk around the souk of the Old City, receiving a historical, and no doubt zionist biased version of events.

Some of the soldiers come close to use, very close, and photograph us, we can complain that they don’t have permission to take photos of us and we are there legitimately, but on the whole it is enough to document their behaviour, so they know the world is watching what they are doing.

We are there to record their crimes, their invasion of Palestinian territory, the disruption of the freedom of movement, and even the invasion of homes (see the picture above of soldiers on roof tops at the tour, vantage points only obtained by trespassing on private Palestinian property).

Today we have as usual co-ordinated our monitoring of the tour with ISM (International Solidarity Movement) and EAPPI (Ecumenical Accompaniers). Today the tour is uneventful, so once its over we spend a few moments chatting with the ISM and EAPPI teams. The rest of the day flies by, some food shopping, an attempt to find a mains lead for an old laptop (an attempt which, so far, has failed but has resulted in an invitation to a shop called ‘Falafel Shower’ tomorrow where we will, we hope, be offered falafel and access to a computer person). The evening consists of meal preparation, (we thought we’d bought chicken but its probably turkey judging by the size of the joints), writing a blog, and erecting shelves in the office, and finally a trip to the gym for me – men only 5pm to 11pm, about twenty minutes walk away. Its hard to be disciplined and to go, partly because it is almost impossible to develop any regular daily routines here.

Finally, 10.30pm, last few odd jobs in the office and that’s the day over. We’ll be up at 06.00 to get to the checkpoints at Qutein and Salaymeh in the H2 High Security Zone to monitor the childrens’ safe passage on their way to school .

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