3)  HEBRON: Legal Breaking and Entering  (ACTION REQUESTED)

CPTnet
August 10, 2002
HEBRON: Legal Breaking and Entering
By Greg Rollins

I don't know about you, but where I come from, breaking and entering and stealing are illegal. If you are caught in the middle of the act, or sit in the place you have broken into and refuse to move, you will be arrested, plain and simple. You can't tell the police that you will just go home and forget it happened. You're under arrest.

Recently here in Hebron settlers have been breaking into gold shops, clothing shops, shoe shops, and general goods stores and stealing everything. Most of the stores are beneath or beside the Israeli settlements, and all the settlers have to do is punch a hole in the wall to get in.

Most recently settlers broke into three Palestinian shops beside the yeshiva (religious school) of Beit Romano. The settlers broke a hole in the back wall of one of the stores and then used doors that connected the three to get from one to the other. They cleaned the three stores out, barred the front doors from the inside, and refused to leave them. When the shop owners wanted to enter their stores, Israeli soldiers and police denied them entry and told them to come back the next day. When they showed up then, they had to wait again.

This particular incident behind Beit Romano happened only several yards away from the checkpoint at the building's entrance. It would have been impossible for the soldiers not to hear or see the settlers smash a hole in a cement wall. The fact that the soldiers ignore these kinds of things and protect the perpetrators enables the settlers to take control of Hebron.

After a while the settlers turn the place into something of their own--a store, an apartment, or an office, whatever they want. Legally the title or deed for the place states that it still belongs to Palestinians, but the courts and the settlers ignore this. The Palestinians are left without a store, without a livelihood, without any compensation and without any justice.