Al Samud Playground at Al Shuhada Kindergarten, Hebron

Ramadan Mubarak from our family at Playgrounds for Palestine to you and yours! 

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On behalf of all of us at Playgrounds for Palestine, we would like to wish you a blessed Ramadan!  

We would like to extend a sincere thank you for your support of PfP and share some photos of our work.

This week, a new playground will be installed in Hebron at Al Shuhada Kindergarten. This is one of nine upcoming playgrounds for the year 2022! 

Our work would not be possible without your generous contributions and support. Thank you for working with us to affirm every child’s right to play! 

 

Playgrounds for Palestine
P.O. Box 559
Yardley, PA 19067
© 2021

70 year old Palestinian beaten in the village of A Tuwani

On Thursday Mar 31, 2022 a large Israeli force entered the tiny village of A Tuwani in the South Hebron Hills. They were confiscating a legally registered tractor parked in the privately owned yard of the Raba’i family. A simple machine used by the villagers to traverse the rocky terrain. Mufaddi Raba’i, a 72 year old village elder, protested the confiscation nonviolently with other elders, women, and children.

Raba’i was restrained, thrown to the ground, and beaten in order to facilitate the confiscation. He was taken by ambulance to the nearest hospital. The tractor was confiscated, and will be impounded for weeks until the family can pay the enormous fines to reclaim it. It’s an economic punishment that the village can barely sustain.

We ask – what is the purpose and what is the cost? What can Israel gain by confiscating a tractor, and what price must a 72 year old man pay?

Please watch this video. Please re-tweet or share it on Facebook.

South Hebron Hills Watch is a group of Israeli American volunteers who forged a strong connection with Palestinian residents of the South Hebron Hills and Jewish activists who are providing witness and physical support to these communities. We are not affiliated with any political party or organization but partner with like-minded people and organizations that support nonviolent activity on the ground and amplify the plight of these Palestinian families in the face of a broader effort to remove them from their lands. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Demonstration on the anniversary of the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre

Human Rights Defenders تجمع المدافعين عن حقوق الانسان, February 25, 2022

Hebron, Palestine — The Israeli occupation army brutally suppresses the peaceful demonstration of the ghetto in commemoration of the 28-year anniversary of the Hebron massacre. The demonstration began in front of the Sheikh Ali Baka Mosque in the Sheikh neighborhood, towards the military checkpoint in front of Al-Shuhada Street in the center of Hebron.


#DefundRacism: The Ibrahimi Mosque Massacre

#DefundRacism | defundracism.org

On February 25 Palestinians in Hebron will be mobilizing in protest as we commemorate the 28th anniversary of the Ibrahimi Mosque Massacre, in which an Israeli settler murdered 29 Palestinians and injured over one hundred.

In response to the murder of 29 Palestinians on Feb 25, 1994, Israeli forces increased restrictions on Palestinians’ most basic rights. This cycle of settler violence and oppression is funded in part by the Hebron Fund, a US-based “charity.”

Since 1994, Palestinians have been denied access to Shuhada street, a former major economic hub, while settlements continue to expand around them. These actions are supported by the Hebron Fund. It’s time to revoke its charitable status.

Every day acts of violence are carried out against Palestinians in Hebron. This systemic and perpetual violence is a result of illegal settlements in the city and those who support them, like the Hebron Fund. Raise your voice with ours.

As we remember the victims of the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre, join us to speak out against the Hebron Fund, a group dedicated to the continuation of settler colonialism and the elimination of Indigenous Palestinians from their own lands.

The Israeli settler movement works to dominate and erase indigenous Palestinians. The 1994 Ibrahimi Massacre is just one example. Organizations like The Hebron Fund support ethnic cleansing with “charitable” funds — but we have the power to stop them.

The colonial violence Israeli settlers carry out against Palestinians is financed by US charities like the Hebron Fund. Settler colonialism is not charitable.

Sign our petition
Stand with Palestinians to #DefundRacism

Umm al-Khair and Hajj Suleiman’s Funeral

Text by David Shulman
Photographs by Margaret Olin

Touching Photographs, January 20, 2022

He was like one of those rocky hills in South Hebron, a living, breathing, feeling mass of sunlight, rain, wind, earth, and stone.  Though he wasn’t all that tall, he always dwarfed everyone around him. The soldiers and the border police were afraid of him, because he told them the truth and gave no quarter.  

He was unafraid. He hated violence. Israel hurt him into fiery protest—everywhere where wrong was being done, he was there, that is, everywhere in South Hebron. Countless times he faced the soldiers down and shamed them with his words. He was the father of our good friend, ‘Id. I’ve known him for close to twenty years. I thought he was indestructible. I was wrong. They got him. He died a particularly horrible death at the hands of his enemies. His name was Hajj Suleiman Hadhalin.

The office of Dove, an Italian NGO, Al Twani, South Hebron Hills, Occupied Palestine.

I last saw him about a month ago, at Tuba, where, as so often, the soldiers had arrested him. He had turned up to harangue them for what they were doing to the people of Tuba. They had him sitting, handcuffed, for some hours in an army jeep with a soldier. The soldier was sick and at one point passed out. Hajj Suleiman, true to character, managed somehow to catch the soldier’s head and hold it in his hands before it collided with the metal dashboard.

 January 5, 2022.  Hajj Suleiman came home to Umm al-Khair from a funeral. It was early afternoon. The driver of a police tow-truck, accompanied by another car with a policeman and a soldier, was busy confiscating unlicensed cars. I’d better say something about the unlicensed cars, mashtubot, as they’re called in Arabized Hebrew. There are lots of them in the South Hebron hills. That’s partly because the army won’t let Palestinians build roads, so they are left with the dirt paths filled with potholes and jagged rocks, and they have to use those roads to get water and other necessities. Any car wears out after a couple of years on those paths. For cars to be roadworthy, it helps to have roads.

Apart from that, Israel controls the importing of any vehicles from Israel into the West Bank. The supply is severely limited, and the price of second-hand vehicles is over ten times higher than their cost in Israel. Since Palestinian shepherds and farmers can’t afford to buy halfway-decent second-hand cars, they buy these barely viable wrecks, most of them brought into Palestine allegedly for repairs but then sold. There is no way they would be licensed. Then the police, and sometimes even the Palestinian Authority, come, as logic demands, to confiscate them. For the owners, the risk of driving an unlicensed car is no doubt less than the risk of death by thirst or starvation.

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Iconic Palestinian activist dies after being run over by Israeli forces

Palestinian activist Suleiman al-Hathalin dies at Hebron hospital two weeks after police truck ran him over


Suleiman al-Hathalin pictured in a protests against settlements and land confiscation, near Yatta village south of Hebron city in the occupied West Bank, on 15 January 2021 (AFP)

Shatha Hammad, Middle East Eye,17 January 2022

Ramallah, occupied Palestine — Prominent Palestinian activist Suleiman al-Hathalin succumbed on Monday to wounds sustained when an Israeli police tow truck ran him over two weeks ago

Hathalin was receiving treatment for serious wounds he sustained to the head, chest, abdomen and pelvis at al-Mizan hospital in Hebron in the occupied West Bank, where he was pronounced dead this morning.

The 75-year-old activist and community leader from Masafer Yatta, a collection of Palestinian hamlets in the South Hebron Hills, was run over by an Israeli tow truck on 5 January. 

Police arrived in Umm al-Khair village in Masafer Yatta to seize unregistered and allegedly stolen vehicles. 

After locals tried to stop the tow trucks, Israeli police fired live ammunition and tear gas to disperse the crowds. 

Fouad al-Hmour, an activist with the popular resistance committee in Masafer Yatta, told Middle East Eye at the time that Suleiman was “standing on the side of the road when the tow truck suddenly veered off the road and drove straight into him”.

Hmour said the tow truck belonged to a private company and was being operated by an Israeli civilian, whom people in the village recognised as an Israeli settler from the area. The tow trucks and the police quickly fled the scene after the incident. 

Hathalin, known locally as Haj Suleiman, is an iconic, anti-occupation activist from Hebron, who constantly led demonstrations against the occupation. 

His family hails from the Arad area south of the West Bank. He has lived in Umm al-Khair since 1965, when he purchased a plot of land there.

Since the establishment of the Israel settlement Carmel on parts of Umm al-Khair in 1980, Hathalin has led protests against its expansion, which threatened the displacement of the village’s residents. 

“We don’t have another place to go”

Dispossession, Settler Violence, & Resistance in Masafer Yatta

Occupied Thoughts, Foundation for Middle East Peace, 1/12/2022

"We don't have another place to go:" Dispossession, Settler Violence, & Resistance in Masafer YattaIn this episode of Occupied Thoughts, FMEP's Sarah Anne Minkin speaks with activist and author Ali Awad about the threats of dispossession and state-backed settler violence facing Palestinians in the Masafer Yatta area of the South Hebron Hills.

Ali's most recent article, co-authored with Awdah Hathaleen, describes extreme violence against a village elder in a non-violent protest in Masafer Yatta: "Israeli police shattered this Palestinian elder’s bones — and drove away."

Bios

  • Ali Awad is an activist from the village of Tuba in the South Hebron Hills.
  • Sarah Anne Minkin, PhD, is FMEP’s Director of Programs & Partnerships.
  • Original music by Jalal Yaquoub

Our Tax Dollars at Work: Destroying a Palestinian Family’s Home and Livelihood

Al Fakheit is one of 12 villages located in the Masafer Yatta area that Israel claims as Firing Zone 918. The Palestinians living in these villages have fought a long legal battle to remain in their homes. On January 3 the Abu Sabha family lost their last legal appeal in an Israeli court.


The Abu Sabha family’s home and barn

Mohammed, the father of the family, was born in the village, in a cave home that is over a century old. In the 1990s Mohammed built tents for his family near the home, and in 2016 he built two homes, all on his privately owned land. Eighteen people lived in these homes. On January 3 the Israeli army issued demolition orders for these homes.


The Abu Sabha family’s animal barns


Members of the Abu Sabha family outside their home learn on January 3 that their legal appeals are exhausted.

On the morning of January 12 the Israeli Civil Administration arrived in the village with border police and bulldozers, and demolished 8 Palestinians structures including homes, two sheep barns, and a water well, leaving several families homeless and without shelter from the weather.


Israeli border police force families back from their homes on January 12.


Israeli forces confront a woman whose home is being demolished.


Demolition of the Abu Sabha family’s home


Demolition of the Abu Sabha family’s garden


Demolition of the Abu Sabha family’s animal barn


The Abu Sabha family’s well just prior to demolition by Israeli forces


What remains of the Abu Sabha family’s well after Israeli demolition

Why US lawmakers should witness the Israeli occupation firsthand

A visit by Reps. Jamaal Bowman and Mark Pocan to my Palestinian village affirmed the value of politicians learning about Israel’s policies on the ground.


Palestinians protest the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin to the heritage site of ancient Susya, in Yatta, near the West Bank city of Hebron, March 14, 2021. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)

Nasser Nawajah, +972 Magazine, December 8, 2021

When U.S. Congressman Andy Levin visited my village of Susiya in 2019, he witnessed a live illustration of the unjust reality that Palestinians in the occupied West Bank experience daily.

As we stood at the entrance of the village, looking toward the illegal Israeli settlement of the same name that has turned Susiya’s ancient ruins into an archeological park, Mekorot, Israel’s water utility company, was busy laying down pipes. The water, of course, would not be accessible to us or the other Palestinian communities in the area; it is meant to serve the outposts and settlements on the hilltops that surround us.

The congressman saw firsthand how water, a basic service which should be guaranteed as a human right, is in fact a precious commodity here in the South Hebron Hills. Do you know how much a cubic meter of water costs in your neighborhood? In Susiya, it costs NIS 35, approximately $11. For Israeli Jews — including those who live just hundreds of meters from us in the Israeli Susiya — the average price is just NIS 7, about $2.

Currently, most of our water cisterns are located in a “security buffer zone” that we cannot access. We are thus forced to buy water at five times the price, while Israelis living in settlements enjoy the same privileges as if they were living in the heart of Tel Aviv.

Last month, U.S. Congressmen Jamaal Bowman and Mark Pocan, together with their colleagues, visited Susiya and witnessed these injustices, too. I stood with them in our playground, which on the previous Shabbat had been invaded by settlers who were escorted and protected by the Israeli army.

For us Palestinians, such settler violence is commonplace. It would be easy to condemn these attacks as the actions of a few radicals on the fringes of Israeli society, but it is clear that the Israeli government benefits from their violence. Why else would it expect soldiers to accompany and protect them while they terrorize our communities on a near-daily basis?

My village is one of close to 30 communities in the South Hebron Hills that are unrecognized by Israeli authorities. The daily hardships and indignities that derive from this condition are part of the Israeli government’s policy of clearing Area C in the West Bank, which is under full Israeli military control, of its Palestinian populations. The government hopes to push us into urban enclaves that are surrounded and fragmented by Israeli settlements. This is the same policy that has led to my community being displaced five times since the occupation began in 1967.

Furthermore, we are subjected to a discriminatory planning system that was designed by Israel to prevent the development of Palestinian presence in Area C. Because of this, every home and structure in my village has a demolition order. The threat of the army arriving early in the morning and razing our entire village is a permanent feature of our lives.

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New Film on Hebron at the New York Times

Mission: Hebron by Israeli filmmaker Rona Segal was published recently in the opinion section of the New York Times website, and can be watched there (with a subscription) or on YouTube.

Mission: Hebron is a short documentary based on interviews conducted by the director with Breaking the Silence testifiers about their service in Hebron. Describing a horrifying yet mundane routine of manning checkpoints, invading homes, nighttime arrests, and violently dispersing protests, they paint a picture of what serving in the second largest Palestinian city in the occupied territories requires, the atmosphere in the city, their interaction with the local population, both Palestinians and settlers, and how they felt about it all.

Screened around the world at international film festivals, the film won the Shagrir Prize at last year’s Jerusalem Film Festival and is now long-listed for the Academy Award for Best Short Documentary.